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George Harrison Autograph Case Settled

January 17, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) _ The estate of George Harrison has settled its lawsuit against a doctor it accused of coercing the dying ex-Beatle into signing a guitar belonging to the doctor’s son.

The guitar ``will be disposed of privately″ and Harrison’s estate will give a new guitar to Ariel Lederman, the 14-year-old son of the doctor who treated Harrison for cancer two weeks before his death, according to a joint statement read aloud Friday in federal court. No further details were available.

The settlement came 10 days after the lawsuit was filed against Dr. Gilbert Lederman, his three children and his employer, Staten Island University Hospital.

``George Harrison’s music spoke to the heart and soul of my generation,″ said Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, who presided over the settlement. He said the agreement ``preserves the dignity and protects the privacy of all concerned.″

Harrison, 58, died in November 2001 after battling lung cancer and a brain tumor.

Two weeks before his death, the lawsuit alleged, Harrison was coerced by Lederman into signing autographs at a house near the Staten Island hospital. Lederman directs the hospital’s radiation oncology department, which is known for treating large tumors with high doses of radiation.

Lederman entered uninvited with his three children and had Harrison listen to his son play the guitar before asking the musician to sign the instrument and two cards, the suit charged.

It alleged that the musician tried to resist, saying, ``I do not even know if I know how to spell my name anymore.″

Lederman held Harrison’s hand as the musician wrote his name on the guitar ``with great effort and much obvious discomfort,″ according to the suit. The estate sought possession of the guitar and the two cards.

The agreement prevents all parties from commenting on the dispute or its settlement. It stipulated that it does not indicate wrongdoing by Lederman, his children or the hospital.

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