Steve Wynn asks jury for $40 million in damages from Joe Francis
"He needs to be stopped," Wynn's lead lawyer, Barry Langberg, told jurors Tuesday before they began deliberating punitive damages in the case.
The Los Angeles jury already awarded $20 million to Wynn this week, finding that Francis knowingly made false statements when he told reporters and others that Wynn threatened to kill him and bury his body in the desert amid a spat over a gambling debt. Because the jury found that Francis acted with malice, Wynn can seek additional punitive damages.
The initial award surpassed the $12 million Wynn's attorneys had asked for and swelled Francis' already substantial debt to the Las Vegas billionaire. With the original $2 million gambling bill and a $7.5-million defamation judgment awarded by a Nevada judge this year, Francis owes Wynn close to $30 million.
"The message has been sent," Francis attorney Aaron Aftergood told jurors Tuesday.
The Wynn-Francis feud stretches over several years and multiple lawsuits. For those counting, Wynn is 3-0 in civil judgments.
-- Ashley Powers and Harriet Ryan
Photo: Joe Francis (left) and Steve Wynn Credit: Associated Press