By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 24, 2001 03:49 PM
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Patrick Ewing, 38, the former center for the New York Knicks who joined the Orlando Magic last week, took the stand in an Atlanta courtroom on Monday and admitted that he twice received sexual favors from dancers at a strip club while the owner and manager watched, according to The New York Times and other news reports. Ewing’s testimony as a prosecution witness was meant to bolster the federal government’s case against Steven E. Kaplan, owner of Atlanta’s Gold Club, who is accused of paying his employees to have sex with prominent athletes in order to raise the club’s profile and lure prospective paying customers. (The government considers this part of illegal prostitution. There are charges of racketeering and money laundering, as well.) On the stand, Ewing said that he never paid the dancers for the oral sex he received, or the club for the drinks or for access to the V.I.P. room where the incidents took place. “I was told it was taken care of,” said the veteran National Basketball Association star. As defense attorney Donald F. Samuel told The Times of the prosecution’s witness: “All they proved was that the girls went too far with an athlete in a bar. That kind of thing happens all the time.”