WASHINGTON (AFP) — A jury ruled Tuesday that New York Knicks coach Isaiah Thomas was liable for sexual harassment against a former colleague, and that the team's owner and its chairman should pay the victim more than 11 million dollars in damages.
After a three-week trial, the jury was divided on whether Thomas, who is also the Knicks' president, should pay punitive damages to Anucha Browne Sanders, a former Knicks marketing executive who accused Thomas of insulting and harassing her.
But Madison Square Garden (MSG), which owns the Knicks, and MSG president James Dolan were ordered to pay more than 11 million dollars to Browne Sanders for allowing her to work in a hostile environment, according to US media.
Browne Sanders filed her lawsuit in a New York federal court in January 2006, alleging that MSG management failed to act despite her repeated complaints against Thomas' behavior.
When Browne Sanders threatened to sue, MSG suspended her while an internal investigation was carried out and then fired her when her accusations were deemed groundless.
Thomas insisted he was innocent after the verdict.
"I want to say it as loud as I possibly can. I'm innocent. I'm very innocent," Thomas, 46, told television reporters outside the courtroom.
"I'm extremely disappointed that the jury could not see the facts ... and I will appeal," he added.
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