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Quincy Jones to testify today in Steve Wynn-Joe Francis threat trial

September 6, 2012 |  6:58 am

Music producer Quincy Jones, the key witness in the court battle between Steve Wynn and Joe Francis, is scheduled to take the stand
Music producer Quincy Jones, the key witness in the court battle between Steve Wynn and Joe Francis, is scheduled to take the stand Thursday morning.

Jones is Wynn's longtime friend and Francis' neighbor. He is also expected to answer the case's central question: Did Wynn threaten to kill Francis?

In April 2010, Francis blurted out during a court hearing that casino mogul Wynn had threatened to "hit me in the back of the head with a shovel and bury me in the desert." Afterward, Francis repeated the claim to a TMZ reporter. Francis, who created the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise, said Jones told him Wynn had shared the threat via email.

On the stand this week, Wynn called the accusation a "terrible lie" that could potentially hurt his reputation and that of his eponymous company. Not only did he never tell Jones he wanted Francis dead, Wynn testified, but he doesn't use email at all.

He also said Jones thought little of Francis, despite Francis apparently asking Jones to be in his wedding. "He refers to Joe Francis as a screwball, a maniac ... a villain," Wynn said.

The Wynn-Francis feud stretches over several years and multiple lawsuits. Francis attorney David Houston suggested Wednesday that their fraught history is what riled Wynn enough to wish Francis dead.

Francis made the death-threat accusations while warring with Wynn over a $2-million gambling debt Francis racked up at the Wynn Las Vegas casino. Francis and Wynn have also battled in court over Francis' accusations that Wynn's casino plied him with prostitutes and uses deceptive practices to keep high-rollers betting. A Nevada judge recently awarded Wynn $7.5 million in a defamation lawsuit over those claims.

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-- Ashley Powers

Photo: Music producer Quincy Jones photographed last month. Credit: Piotr Wittman / EPA

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