'Girls Gone Wild' creator Joe Francis hit with $20 million verdict in Steve Wynn lawsuit

steve-wynn-joe-francis-gi.jpgA jury on Monday (Sept. 10) awarded casino magnate Steve Wynn $20 million in his slander lawsuit against "Girls Gone Wild" impresario Joe Francis.

Wynn, owner of the Wynn and Encore resorts in Las Vegas, filed suit in 2010 after Francis claimed Wynn threatened to kill him over a huge gambling debt. Wynn had asked for $12 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages, saying his reputation could be severely damaged if people believed that's how he ran his business.

The jury went further, giving Wynn $8 million more than he asked.

Francis and his attorneys argued during the trial that Wynn's threat was real, claiming that music producer Quincy Jones -- a neighbor of Francis and an old friend of Wynn's -- told Francis in an e-mail that Wynn wanted him dead. In court, however, Jones testified he never told Francis that, and the defense team never produced the alleged e-mail.

Wynn and Francis have a long-running dispute over a gambling debt of nearly $2 million Francis racked up at Wynn properties. Francis filed an earlier lawsuit in Nevada claiming Wynn employees supplied him with drugs and prostitutes during the time he was racking up the debt, but the judge in the case sided with Wynn.
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