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Songwriter Says Wonder Lawsuit Based on 'Lie'

METRO DIGEST / Local News in Brief

February 16, 1990

A songwriter who once sued pop icon Stevie Wonder over the song "I Just Called to Say I Love You" testified Thursday in Los Angeles that any similarities between that tune and a song he wrote are coincidental.

Lee Garrett said he withdrew from the copyright infringement suit against Wonder, a longtime friend who had prevented Garrett from committing suicide in 1977, "because it (the suit) was based on a lie."

Another songwriter, Lloyd Chiate, co-author of Garrett's tune, called "Hello It's Me, I Just Called," went ahead with the multimillion-dollar suit, now in trial.

Garrett, 46, said he filed the suit along with Chiate in 1985 in part because "I had been told originally that Stevie had accused me of stealing his song," and that he was unsure whether his rights as the author of "Hello It's Me" had been infringed upon by the Wonder tune. Now, Garrett, said: "I considered it a coincidence" that the songs are similar.

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