updated 01/08/2004 AT 1:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/08/2004 AT 10:00 AM ET
The New York cancer specialist accused of coercing dying ex-Beatle George Harrison into autographing a guitar has had an apparent change of heart.
On Wednesday, after news broke of a lawsuit filed against him by the Harrison estate, Dr. Gilbert Lederman offered to donate the instrument to charity, reports the Associated Press.
But the Harrison family has turned him down, saying, through their lawyer that they are rejecting the gesture as “spin” and they are not dropping their lawsuit against him. (Harrison, 58, died in November 2001, about two weeks after the signing.)
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, accuses Lederman of forcing Harrison’s hand to sign the physician’s son’s guitar while the musician was on his deathbed.
Lederman’s attorney, Wayne Roth, responded in an e-mailed statement to AP on Wednesday, saying, “Dr. Lederman developed a close personal relationship with Mr. Harrison, who freely autographed his son’s guitar.”
Roth went on to say that Lederman would like to donate the guitar, which has been valued at less than $10,000, to a charity decided upon by both the doctor and the Harrison estate.
But Paul LiCalsi, an attorney for the Harrisons, responded that this was “a ludicrous attempt to put a positive spin on what Dr. Lederman did.”
Said LiCalsi: “The Harrison family does not want this object that was obtained in such a cruel and abusive manner to be traded, sold and displayed in the future.”