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11 September 2012

Jury awards casino mogul $US20m for slander - 11th September 2012


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A jury has awarded US casino mogul Steve Wynn $US20 million ($19.3 million) in his slander case against Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, who claimed the creator of some of Las Vegas's most upscale resorts threatened to kill him over a gambling debt.

Witnesses disputed Francis's claims during a four-day trial, including record producer Quincy Jones, who Francis said told him about Wynn's threats and showed him a stack of emails that contained them.

Wynn vehemently denied that.

In siding with Wynn, the jury determined that there was clear and convincing evidence that Francis slandered the casino mogul and knew his allegations were false when he made them.

Neither Wynn nor Francis was present in court when the verdict was read on Monday morning.

Wynn's lawyer on Friday had asked the panel to award the billionaire $US12 million plus punitive damages to send a message that false statements that travel far in the internet age will not be tolerated.

The CEO of Wynn resorts and designer of signature Las Vegas casinos such as The Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore attended the trial.

Francis, who testified, has built a business empire based on videos of young women flashing their breasts for video cameras. (AP)

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