NEW YORK (AP) – A jury has awarded alternative rocker Trent Reznor $2.95 million after finding that a former manager breached his contract and acted fraudulently, a lawyer said Tuesday.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Manhattan delivered the verdict Friday against John Malm, Reznor’s manager, said the lawyer, Zia F. Modabber. The award likely would top $4 million when interest is added.

Modabber said he delivered word of the verdict to Reznor, who was touring with his band, Nine Inch Nails.

“He was almost silent at first. It’s still sinking in,” Modabber said. “It’s been a difficult thing for him in a lot of ways. They were very, very close friends.”

A lawyer for Malm did not immediately return a telephone message for comment Tuesday.

The civil verdict came after a three-week trial in which Reznor testified that he was stunned to learn in 2003 that despite millions of dollars in earnings by his band he was left with as little as $400,000 in cash.

“I felt I had an accountant I couldn’t trust,” Reznor testified.

The trial resulted after Reznor sued Malm, contending that his former close friend duped him into signing a contract that gave Malm 20 percent of his gross earnings rather than net earnings and lets Malm collect the commission forever.

A lawyer for Malm, Alan Hirth, said in an opening statement that his client worked many years for no salary and kept nothing secret from Reznor.

Modabber said the trial’s message to new musicians was to “maintain some separateness and independence and resist the temptation to hand everything in your life over to one person with no outside scrutiny whatsoever.”


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