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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 16:38 GMT
Beatle lawsuit doctor to quit job
George Harrison
George Harrison died of cancer in 2001
A doctor who is being sued by the estate of ex-Beatle George Harrison is leaving his job at a New York hospital.

Dr Gilbert Lederman is accused in the $10m (5.5m) lawsuit of coercing Harrison into signing souvenirs while he was being treated for cancer.

But authorities at Staten Island University Hospital say his departure is not connected to the legal action.

Dr Lederman has strongly denied the allegations. Harrison died of cancer in November 2001 in Los Angeles.

Donation dismissed

Earlier this week, Harrison's estate, run by the late musician's family, filed a lawsuit against the doctor in Brooklyn Federal Court.

One of the main allegations of the legal action was that Dr Lederman got an extremely sick Harrison to sign his son's guitar and autographs for his two daughters.

The action also alleges Dr Lederman used Harrison's treatment to gain publicity for himself and his hospital.

Dr Lederman's lawyer Wayne Roth said he was due to leave his post as director of the radiation oncology unit at the Staten Island hospital at the end of 2004.

As far as Mr Harrison being forced to sign the guitar goes, he absolutely and categorically denies that
Dr Lederman's lawyer
However, he said the move had "absolutely nothing to do with George Harrison or any issues concerning patient care".

A lawyer for the Harrison family, Paul LiCalsi, said: "We have no information from the hospital, but we find the timing curious."

The family has dismissed an offer by Dr Lederman to donate the signed guitar to charity.

Court papers claim Dr Lederman took his children to see Harrison, making the musician listen to his son playing the guitar.

They go on to say that when Harrison resisted signing autographs, Dr Lederman held his hand to help him write.

"As far as Mr Harrison being forced to sign the guitar goes, he absolutely and categorically denies that," said Mr Roth.

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