Billionaire Steve Wynn’s defamation lawsuit against the Associated Press (AP) and a wire service reporter had been dismissed by Clark County District Court around a couple of years back, but the suit could be revived in the Supreme Court of Nevada.
A panel of justices at Nevada’s apex court heard arguments from the counsels of Mr. Wynn and Associated Press. Mr. Wynn’s counsel Todd Bice argued that a Feb. 2018 article written by reporter Regina Garcia Cano about sexual misconduct scandal that eventually led to Mr. Wynn’s ouster from the Wynn Resorts did not paint the entire picture of a woman’s “fantastical” accusations against the defamed gaming mogul.
Bice said accuser Halina Kuta defamed the former gaming mogul with “totally fanciful” claims. As per the woman’s accusations, Wynn asserted that she, not his ex-wife Elaine, is the biological mother of his daughter Kevyn. His original lawsuit against the AP claimed the news service reported the woman’s allegations as credible. One of the woman’s allegations was the former gambling mogul had sexually assaulted her in Chicago in the early 1970s and that she gave birth to their daughter in a restroom at a gas station.
Bice argued that Kuta never gave birth to his client’s child, casting doubt upon the woman’s rape allegations.
Arguing during the video conference, Bice stressed, “The earlier appeal from the district court as urged by the Associated Press sets a wildly dangerous standard if it is allowed to stand as the law in the state of Nevada. The question for the court is very simple. Was the defamation enhanced by what the AP omitted in its reporting? The answer to that is absolutely yes.”
Chad Bowman, counsel for the AP, argued that the way the article in question was reported was totally fair and that the new organization simply did not use the ‘verbatim words’ from the law enforcement agency’s report.
The Supreme Court of Nevada didn’t issue a ruling on the fate of Mr. Wynn’s legal action against the popular news organization.
In 2018, the 78-year-old billionaire was forced to step down as chairman and chief executive of the Wynn Resorts, the company that he had founded, following Kuta’s sexual misconduct allegations against him. After selling his entire stake in the company that bears his name for $2.14 billion, he has also listed his Las Vegas mansion dubbed “Museo” on the “Billionaire’s Row” for sale with a hefty price tag of $25 million.