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Ryan Leslie is going to have to dig deep in his pockets to pay off the $1 million he offered as a reward for his stolen laptop after a jury in a Manhattan federal court sided with the man who found and returned it.
Leslie's laptop came up missing in 2010 while he was in Germany performing. Desperate to get the laptop back Leslie offered $20,000 initially as a reward for its return, then upped the offer to $1 million.
Armin Augstein found the laptop while walking his dog and turned it over to German police in November 2010. Leslie refused to pay up claiming that the hard drive was corrupted and his intellectual property was lost.
The singer/rapper/producer told MTV's RapFix Live last month that he lost part of his new Les Is More album as well as collaborations he had been working on for Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne album.
"There were records that I was working on, multi-tracks that I had for the Watch the Throne album," R. Les said. "If you read the credits for Watch the Throne, I'm not on that album. And obviously my album isn't on there."
Judge Harold Baer Jr. yesterday told jurors that because Leslie disposed of the hard drive by returning it to the manufacturer after Augstein claimed the reward, they could assume that the data was there when Augstein handed it over according to the New York Post.
Leslie said he was "disappointed" in the jury's decision and later took to Twitter to tell his fans not to believe everything they read.
Augstein told the New York Post he was glad the American justice system worked in his favor.
"I’m very happy that the American judicial system, which is so totally different from ours, functioned so well with a jury that are not professionals and are laymen,” he said in German through one his lawyers, Steven Thal.
Augstein added that nobody forced Leslie to offer such a high reward.
“No one forced him to make an offer of so much money for a finder’s fee,” Augstein said. “It seems like he believes that which he promised, he doesn’t have to live up to.”
Leslie may appeal the verdict.