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Rod Stewart to return advance

A federal jury ordered the British rocker to pay $2 million plus interest for canceling a Las Vegas concert.

music Updated: Sep 09, 2005 12:59 IST

A federal jury on Wednesday ordered British rocker Rod Stewart to pay $2 million plus interest for canceling a Las Vegas concert five years ago after he had throat surgery.

A US District Court jury in Las Vegas found unanimously that Stewart, 60, must return the $2 million advance he was paid when booked to perform in December 2000 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, lawyers for both sides told Reuters.

Stewart told the Rio in November of that year that he would be unable to appear because he was recovering from throat surgery several months earlier due to thyroid cancer.

The singer's lawyer, Skip Miller, said Stewart was prepared to make up the missed date if the Rio would reschedule.

"He's more popular than ever," Miller said, adding the rock star planned to appeal the verdict on grounds that his contract allowed him to reschedule the missed show in case of illness.

But Steve Morris, attorney for the Rio, said the jury agreed with the hotel-casino that Stewart's contract had no provision that allowed him "not to show up and keep the money."

Stewart, who testified in the case, was not in court for the verdict.

Morris said he expected the court to enter a judgment against Stewart that could run "several million dollars" when interest, court costs and possibly attorney's fees, are included.

Miller said an earlier summary judgment against Stewart in the case was overturned on appeal and he expected the same outcome for the jury verdict.

The raspy-voiced singer, who lives in Los Angeles, sprang to solo stardom in the 1970s with such hits as "Maggie May" and "You Wear it Well." This year, he won the first Grammy Award of his career for his third album of American standards, "Stardust ... The Great American Songbook: Volume III."

Stewart has performed more than 200 live shows since his throat surgery in May 2000, Miller said.

First Published: Sep 08, 2005 19:05 IST