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Steve Wynn-Joe Francis defamation lawsuit in jury’s hands

September 10, 2012 |  8:09 am

Joe Francis, left, and Steve Wynn
A Los Angeles County jury will resume its deliberations Monday morning as it decides whether Joe Francis defamed Steve Wynn by claiming the casino mogul wanted to kill him.

The pair have been publicly warring since 2008, ever since Francis racked up a roughly $2-million gambling debt.

The made-for-TMZ defamation case — whose star witness was Grammy-winning producer Quincy Jones — is one of four lawsuits Wynn and Francis have filed against each other in recent years, each one offering the foes another high-profile opportunity to hurl insults. (For those counting, Wynn is 2-0 in civil judgments. Francis owes him at least $9.5 million.)

Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul, and Francis, the "Girls Gone Wild" impresario, have been providing a crash course this week in how rich men settle scores. Their feud began as many do: with one man, Wynn, claiming the other, Francis, owed him money.

Wynn has sued Francis over his claims that the Las Vegas casino mogul threatened to have him killed and buried in the desert. During testimony, Wynn called the accusation a "terrible lie" that could potentially hurt his reputation and that of his eponymous company.

"He's unrepentant, vicious, out-of-control," Wynn said of Francis.

Since Wynn filed suit in 2010, Francis has maintained that the threat was real. He said music mogul Jones, his neighbor and a longtime friend of Wynn's, told him that Wynn wanted Francis dead in an email. Francis' team has never produced the email; Wynn said that's because it doesn't exist.

Jones, who testified last week, said Wynn never threatened to kill Francis. He said he told the porn purveyor, "If you lose the money, you pay the money."

Now, it's up to the jury decide. They began their deliberations Friday afternoon and will continue today.

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— Ashley Powers

Photo: Joe Francis, left, and Steve Wynn. Credit: Associated Press file photos

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