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Singer ordered to pay $1 million reward for stolen laptop

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Hip-hop artist Ryan Leslie has been told to pay up for the $1 million bounty he put on the recovery of his apparently quite valuable laptop, which he lost in Germany in 2010.

The laptop, which must have held a lot of really great recordings (or just as many really embarrassing photographs) was recovered by an auto repair shop owner named Armin Augstein just a few days after Leslie had produced a YouTube video declaring that the finder's fee reward was going from $20,000 to $1 million in full.

Not knowing of the prize attached, Augstein turned the laptop over to authorities when he found it and went about his business. He learned later of Leslie's offer, but when he went to claim it, learned as well that Leslie did not intend to pay up.

So Augstein sued. And two years later, Augstein won.

On Tuesday, the rapper testified in New York that the offer should be nullified because he'd made the reward contingent on the recovery of a hard drive containing a whole bunch of unreleased songs.

Leslie told the jury that he couldn't access the files after Augstein had handed over the computer, but Judge Harold Baer Jr. responded by telling the jurors that Leslie had returned the hard drive to the manufacturer after Augstein had claimed the reward, and that they could assume the data was there when Augstein handed it over.

That, in addition to the fact that words hold value and that people should be held accountable for the things that they say and publish, helped jurors reach a unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiff.

"Ain't no way to get around ups & downs," Leslie tweeted shortly after the verdict alongside a somewhat boss picture of he and his legal entourage outside the courtroom.

That's a truth that Leslie can take to the bank.

Photo via Ryan Leslie/Twitter