Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 18 News List

`I don't recall sex with your client,' claims Rodman

AFP , LOS ANGELES

Former US basketball star Dennis Rodman said Thursday he could not recall ever meeting a woman who has sued him for allegedly spiking her drink with a drug before raping her.

Rodman, 42, was giving evidence in a civil trial brought against him in by a woman who alleged he assaulted her at his home in the Los Angeles area in March 2001.

"I have no recollection of [the woman]," Rodman told a jury at Orange County Superior Court. "That's two, two-and-a-half years ago."

"I don't recall having sex with your client," he told the woman's lawyer when he asked if the former National Basketball Association bad boy was claiming that he had consensual sex with the woman.

The woman is suing for alleged sexual battery, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and civil conspiracy, and is seeking punitive damages against Rodman.

"My theme of this case is `bad as I want to be,'" the alleged victim's lawyer Marcus Mancini told jurors. "That's what Mr. Rodman thinks he can be, as bad as he wants to be."

Rodman has faced similar accusations in the past and has had several brushes with the law in recent years, including domestic abuse and battery in January and disturbing the peace for throwing a raucous party in May 2001.

But Mancini said outside the courtroom that no criminal charges were ever brought in this case.

The woman claims that she went with two friends to Rodman's waterfront restaurant, Josh Slocum's, in Los Angeles' Newport Beach area, where Rodman approached her "in a very aggressive manner," the lawyer said.

Rodman gave the woman a beer spiked with a drug that made her pass out before she was taken to his home in a limousine, Mancini said.

"She awakes and finds Mr. Rodman on top of her. He's banging her head against the headboard ... She says, `No, no.' She loses consciousness. She was powerless to get up and leave the room," he said.

But Rodman's attorney, John McKay, claimed that one of the woman's friends banged on the door when she wanted to go home and "heard noises of two people having sex and they were having a good time."

The women then bragged at work the following day that she had had sex with Rodman, and it was not until March 28, after she was fired, that "for the first time mentioned the word rape," he claimed.

Outside the courtroom, the black player once famed for his blond hair, said he seemed to draw such allegations because he is "very colorful."

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