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Singer Rick James' victim wins $1.8M

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9 -- A Los Angeles jury awarded Friday $1.7 million to a woman who was beaten unconscious by singer Rick James at the posh St. James Club in Hollywood. James and his girlfriend, who were convicted of the crime last year, were ordered to pay about $1 million, while the hotel and a private security firm were found liable for nearly $750,000 in damages due to negligence.

James, who was also convicted on related charges involving other women, is currently serving a five-year sentence in California's Folsom Prison. The singer is best known for his 1981 hit 'Super Freak.' James' girlfriend, Tanya Hijazi, was also convicted on charges stemming from the attack on Mary Sauger, a former executive at Sony Music. After a four-week trial, the jury of eleven men and one woman deliberated two days before returning a partial verdict. Punitive damages, if any, have not yet been decided. Defense attorneys could not be reached for comment Friday. Sauger has been unable to work since she was tied up and beaten by James and Hijazi during the November 1992 incident, Sauger's attorney James Wohl said. 'This woman was literally beaten to a pulp,' Wohl said. The St. James Club and BGM Securities, a private firm contracted to provide security for the hotel, were found liable because hotel officials allegedly knew Sauger was being held against her will but did not intervene. A former hotel employee testified that Sauger pleaded with him to rescue her when the employee brought food up to James' room. That employee informed a security guard and the hotel manager, but no further action was taken.

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