“Girls Gone Wild” Founder still ordered to pay Wynn $19m over Slander

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A Los Angeles courtroom upheld a ruling that orders “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis to pay $19 million to Steve Wynn over a slander case involving alleged death threats from Wynn. The California 2nd District Court of Appeal chose not to overturn a previous judgement and also reaffirmed that Francis can’t repeat claims that Wynn threatened to kill him.

Francis originally said that the casino mogul threatened to hit him in the head with a shovel and have him buried in the Nevada desert. When the claims went public, Wynn went to court and said that Francis’ statements were not only defamatory, but they put his Las Vegas casino license at risk. A judge sided with Wynn and ordered Francis to pay $40 million in damages.

The amount was later cut to $19 million, however, this didn’t stop Francis from appealing the verdict. At the heart of his appeal was the assertion that he was merely discussing a debt to Wynn and shouldn’t be held liable for his statements.

When asked about recounting the supposed threats to Good Morning America and a TMZ reporter, Francis said that he was only describing what he’d said about the threats. However, three judges from the California 2nd District Court of Appeal disagreed with Francis and want him to pay $19 million to Wynn.

Mitchell Landberg, who headed Wynn’s legal team, was very happy with the results of the case. “We will continue to assist Mr. Wynn and Wynn Las Vegas as they vigorously pursue Francis to collect all of his debts to them, including this $19 million judgment,” Landberg said.

As for Francis, he doesn’t appear to be ready to stop his court battle just yet. “We fully expect this to be overturned by the California Supreme Court expeditiously,” Francis said.

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