Joe Francis Now Owes Steve Wynn $40 Million

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A jury doubled its $20 million verdict against “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis, ordering him to pay casino mogul Steve Wynn another $20 million in punitive damages for falsely claiming that Wynn threatened to kill him over a gambling debt.
     Click here to read Courthouse News’ Entertainment Law Digest.
     Francis plans to appeal the verdicts, The Associated Press reported.
     Francis had claimed that his neighbor, record mogul Quincy Jones, told him that Wynn threatened to hit him in the back of the head with a shovel and bury him in the desert over a gambling debt. The Grammy-winning producer later testified that no such statements were made.
     TMZ reported the tidbit in April, and Wynn followed up with a defamation lawsuit.
     According to Wynn’s lawsuit, “In truth and in fact, Wynn never threatened to kill Francis, nor physically threatened him in any manner, and never said he would hit Francis with a shovel and bury him in the desert.”
     On Monday, jurors awarded Wynn $20 million for the comments after finding that Francis slandered Wynn.
     Wynn, the CEO of Wynn resorts like the Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore, said he intends to donate the money to charity.
     Wynn first sued Francis in July 2008, claiming the much-sued soft-core porn king owed $2 million in gambling debts from February 2007. Wynn sued again in Las Vegas in August 2008, claiming Francis defamed him with false accusations that Wynn stiffs his high rollers.
     Francis says he has already paid his alleged debt through agreements and discounts.

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