A federal jury in Las Vegas ruled against Stewart Wednesday in a big-bucks dispute between the singer and Harrah's over a scuttled millennium concert.
Stewart must now return a $2 million dollar advance, plus interest, for the nixed Dec. 30, 1999 show, which was to have taken place at the Rio casino-resort on the Vegas Strip. Jury foreman Stevan Jorgensen told reporters the ruling reflected what jurors thought was simply a contract dispute between Stewart and Harrah's.
Stewart, who testified in his defense last week, said he was unable to sing that night because he hadn't fully recovered from a throat operation for thyroid cancer several months prior to the gig. The British-born rocker and his lawyers said they repeatedly offered to make up the show over the past five years, only to be rebuffed by Harrah's. The casino conglomerate countered that it never would have been able to make as much money for a random concert as it would have made if the "Maggie May" singer headlined a millennium eve show.
Steve Morris, a lawyer for the Rio, told reporters he was "delighted and relieved" with the outcome of the trial; Kerry Garvis Wright, an attorney for Stewart, said the rocker will appeal. It's the second time in recent months that Stewart has crapped out in court. Last November, the raspy-voiced rocker was ordered to repay a $780,000 deposit he received for a 2002 Latin American tour that never took place.
The Los Angeles jury in that case also found Stewart liable for an added $1.6 million in punitive damages related to the manner in which his agents and lawyers negotiated the contract for the tour. Verdicts aside, it hasn't been all bad for the former Faces frontman.
In March, he won his first Grammy, and three months later he announced he is expecting a child with his 34-year-old fiancйe, Penny Lancaster. This will be his first child with Lancaster and his seventh overall, Reuters reports.
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