Vegas Mogul Steve Wynn Awarded $20M In Defamation Suit Against "Girls Gone Wild" Founder Joe Francis
A decision has finally been made in the epic legal battle between Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn and "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis, and it finds Wynn in the black to the tune of $20 million.Jury deliberations began Friday in the defamation case, which found Wynn accused of wanting Francis dead and buried in the desert over a gambling debt.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jurors on the case found that Francis acted with malice, triggering a second phase of trial to determine if punitive damages should be awarded, according to City News Service. That is slated to get underway Tuesday morning.
During his closing arguments, Wynn lawyer Barry Landberg made no bones about the core of their defense, saying Francis flatly made the whole thing up.
Among those testifying were music producer Quincy Jones, who said that he did not know of any verbal or written threats made by Wynn against Francis. Francis claimed Jones had showed the "Girls Gone Wild" founder emails from Wynn that allegedly contained death threats.
The trial was ordered back in May. Wynn has maintained he never plotted to kill Francis with a shovel, as his accuser claimed.
In February, Francis was ordered to pay Wynn $7.5 million after losing a five-year court battle stemming from a lawsuit Wynn filed against Francis for not paying back his gambling debts, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Francis then threatened to expose how Wynn deceived his high rollers. Wynn fired back with a defamation lawsuit, which ended in a $5 million settlement plus $2.5 in punitive damages.