JURY PICKED for Atlanta strip club trial involving pro athletes

Wednesday, May 9th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ A jury of seven men and five women was selected Wednesday for the trial of a strip club owner accused of building a $50 million fortune in part by supplying prostitutes to sports stars and other celebrities.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys chose the jury in just 20 minutes, quietly passing a list of potential jurors across the federal courtroom.

The jurors were told to return to court Monday to hear opening statements in the case against Gold Club owner Steve Kaplan and six associates, charged with offenses including loansharking, money laundering and bribing police officers.

Prosecutors contend Kaplan provided sex to big-name athletes and other celebrities and made millions by falsifying credit card receipts. Some of that money allegedly was used to pay for protection from the Gambino crime family.

Defense attorney Steve Sadow said the defense team succeeded in removing potential jurors with deeply held religious opposition to strip clubs or alcohol.

``We have a great jury that will see through what I call the government smokescreen,'' he said.

Kaplan could get 40 years in prison, the associates 20 years each.