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Wednesday September 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES -- A jury has awarded casino mogul Steve Wynn $20 million in his slander case against "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis, who claimed the creator of some of Las Vegas’ most upscale resorts threatened to kill him over a gambling debt.

Witnesses disputed Francis’ claims during a four-day trial, including Grammy winning 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. Francis had claimed Wynn threatened to hit him over the head with a shovel and have him buried in the desert.

A second phase of the trial to decide punitive damages began on Tuesday.

Wynn’s attorney, Barry Langberg, said after the verdict was read that the jury clearly saw the harm in Francis’ remarks.

Francis said he expects the verdict to be overturned on appeal due to judicial error.

Wynn said after arguments concluded on Friday that he would donate any winnings, minus his attorney’s fees, to
charities.


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