A jury yesterday awarded $5.3 million to concert promoter Marcel Avram in his suit against Michael Jackson over the cancellation of two planned 1999 concerts, according to the plaintiff's attorney, Sk

A jury yesterday awarded $5.3 million to concert promoter Marcel Avram in his suit against Michael Jackson over the cancellation of two planned 1999 concerts, according to the plaintiff's attorney, Skip Miller.

Munich-based promoter Avram filed suit against Jackson in 2000 in Santa Barbara (Calif.) County Superior Court, claiming the singer had unexpectedly pulled out of New Year's gigs planned for Sydney and Honolulu. The suit sought reimbursement of production costs and assumed liabilities, as well as damages for lost global television rights.

In yesterday's ruling, Avram was awarded the $5.3 million for lost profits, but the judge would not allow the jury to consider the additional damages sought for TV rights and other expenses, Miller says. Still, he adds, "We're really pleased with the $5.3 million. It's almost the entire lost profit." He plans to appeal for the additional funds, which he claims would amount to about $5 million.

Jackson's attorney, Steve Cochran, did not return a call for comment. The artist's appearances in court over the course of four months of testimony made worldwide headlines; Jackson giggled during questioning and at one point arrived in court on crutches after suffering what he described as a spider bite. On the witness stand, Jackson insisted that Avram canceled the shows over concerns they would not be profitable.