Steve Wynn awarded $20M in Joe Francis defamation lawsuit


A jury ruled in favor of Wynn on Monday shortly before noon after receiving the case Friday. The Las Vegas hotel owner claimed Francis slandered him by falsely saying Wynn threatened to kill him over a gambling debt. Francis had claimed Wynn threatened to hit him in the back of the head with a shovel and have him buried in the desert.

Grammy winning record producer Quincy Jones testified against Francis on Thursday. Francis claims he heard about the threats from Jones, who is his friend and neighbor. But on the stand, Jones denied hearing Wynn make any threats.

When Jones denied the allegation, the jury determined that there was clear and convincing evidence that Francis slandered Wynn and knew his statements were false.

I'm startled by the jury's verdict because it's totally unfounded and the evidence does not support it," Francis said in a statement.

Wynn, the CEO of Wynn resorts and designer of signature Las Vegas casinos such as The Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore, said after arguments concluded on Friday that he would donate any winnings, minus his attorney's fees, to charities.

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