Steinbrenner says fear spurred his $40,000 payment to Spira

April 25, 1991

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner testified yesterday that he paid Howard Spira $40,000 because he was fearful of the admitted gambler's many demands.

"I was deeply concerned and apprehensive about what this guy was going to do to me personally and my family," Steinbrenner said.

Steinbrenner also explained why he came close to tears Tuesday, his first day as a chief prosecution witness against Spira.

"You're not much of a person if you don't get emotional about your family, your kids, your mother, your 87-year-old mother," he testified under cross-examination.

Steinbrenner was overcome with emotion Tuesday when asked about a list of Spira's that included the home phone numbers of Steinbrenner's friends and family members.

Spira, 31, is charged with trying to extort more money from

Steinbrenner after he paid Spira $40,000 in January 1990.

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