Steve Wynn's $20M Slander Award From 'Girls Gone Wild' Founder - Decided
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Steve Wynn's $20M Slander Award From 'Girls Gone Wild' Founder

Steve Wynn was awarded a hefty sum by the jury in the ruling of his slander lawsuit against 'Girl's Gone Wild' founder Joe Francis.

The ruling is only the latest in a string of lawsuits between the two men over Francis's gambling debt and the statements he's made surrounding Wynn's conduct over the debt. The jury found on Monday that Francis's statements were false and awarded $20 million in damages to Wynn.

In their decision, the jury also found that Francis knew the statements were false when he made them. That could result in a higher penalty for the flashy entrepreneur.

Wynn has sued Francis three times in the last four years: once to cover a gambling debt and on two different accounts of defamation.

The earlier defamation suit went to Wynn as well when a Nevada jury awarded him $7.5 million. The current case took place in California but the results were the same.

His claim was based on statements' Francis made about Wynn, claiming that Wynn threatened Francis's life in an email to their mutual friend, Quincy Jones, according to ABC. Making false statements that are published and cause some kind of harm to the person they're about is the essence of a defamation claim.

Wynn claimed reputational damage based on the statements and the jury awarded him a substantial amount of money as compensation.

The jury also ruled that Francis knew the statements were false when he made them. This makes Wynn entitled to even more money. An additional hearing will be held to determine the value of punitive damages.

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for inappropriate or malicious behavior. It's the equivalent of a financial slap on the wrist.

Francis has said he'll appeal the ruling which he believes was based on inadmissible evidence, reports The Washington Post.

During the trial, Francis went on 'Good Morning America' and repeated his claims that Wynn had threatened to kill him. The judge added those statements onto the existing defamation claims.

Francis is arguing those statements shouldn't have been part of the trial. But in the meantime Wynn's legal team is gearing up for a hearing on punitive damages.

The ruling on Steve Wynn's slander lawsuit could make him a richer man but he's promised not to profit off Joe Francis's money, reports The Washington Post. He'll be donating any winnings, minus attorney fees, to charity.

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