The late Rock Hudson's lover may accept less than the $21.75 million a jury awarded him in the landmark AIDS case, his attorney said.

Marc Christian would be inclined to accept a reduction as long as it doesn't go below $9 million in actual damages and $3 million in punitive damages, said his lawyer, Harold Rhoden."It's important to preserve the message that was sent," Rhoden said, "and to do that we must preserve the punitive damages."

The case was to return to court Friday in the wake of sexual accusations and lie detector tests, and Rhoden said he would not be surprised if Superior Court Judge Bruce Geernaert reduced the award.

"I'm going to ask him to let the verdict stand, but I've got to concede he probably won't," Rhoden said Thursday.