Producer/musician Ryan Leslie had to face the music in court yesterday, after being sued for reneging on a $1 million dollar reward he offered for the return of stolen laptop.
Leslie’s laptop disappeared from the back of a Mercedes-Benz he was using during a 2010 tour in Europe. When he discovered it was missing, Leslie posted YouTube videos and tweets pleading for its return, and offered a $1 million dollar reward.
Weeks later, it was found and turned in to German police by an auto repair shop owner named Armin Augstein, who said he found the computer inside a black backpack while walking his dog.
However, when it was time to pay Augstein, Leslie admitted he backed out of the deal, saying that what he really wanted back were the unreleased songs he’d written and stored on the computer’s external hard drive…and he was never able to access the songs. As he testified in court:
“The $1 million reward was for the return of the intellectual property.”
Leslie told jurors that the laptop held iTunes copies of his songs — but they were worthless compared with the original multi-track versions stored on the computer’s hard drive. Leslie said that he was unable to access those original versions,which was crucial because, at the time, he was heading to a recording session with West and Jay-Z in England. He said:
“I was with my musical hero, and I couldn’t deliver.”
Leslie, a Harvard graduate who started college at the age of 15, and scored a perfect 1600 on his SATs (did y’all know that?!) described himself as “an ethical person” who “didn’t want to stiff anyone.” He said that even if he wanted to pay up, his manager refused to let him because they suspected there was “foul play involved.”
On his way out of the courtroom, Leslie told his entourage, “Tomorrow we’ll know whether I’ll be writing checks or buying Maseratis.”
Closing arguments are scheduled for today. Stay tuned to HipHollywood for the outcome!
[Source: NY Post]