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Girls Gone Trial: Steve Wynn awarded $20 million in slander case against Joe Francis

TOPSHOTS.Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of

MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Limited speaks at a press conference after the companies annual general meeting in Macau on May 17, 2011.

A new narrative has been legally laid out in the saga of Steve Wynn, Joe Francis, Quincy Jones, and the fabled threat of being buried in the desert.

In a courtroom on Monday, a jury awarded casino mogul Wynn $20 million in his slander case against the "Girls Gone Wild" founder Francis, who had been describing a story wherein Wynn was an "old Vegas" mobster out to get him with a shovel and bury him in the desert -- a plot he said he found out about because his neighbor Quincy Jones told him.

Grammy winner Jones, and other witnesses, disputed Francis' claims during the four-day trial. 

"That sounds like a line from 'Scarface'" Jones said in court last Thursday, adding that he would like to see the emails Francis claims he'd displayed detailing the threat. Wynn, who vehemently denied that he ever threatened Francis, told jurors that he'd never sent an email in his life.

The jury, siding with Wynn, determined there was clear and convincing evidence that Francis slandered the Vegas billionaire, and knew his allegations were false when he made them.

On Friday, Wynn's attorney asked the panel to award his client $12 million plus punitive damages to send a message that far-reaching, false statements in the Internet age will not be tolerated. A second phase of the trial will begin Tuesday to decide punitive damages. Francis' attorney argued that Wynn had not suffered any damages.

Neither Wynn nor Francis was present in court when the verdict was read. Wynn said after arguments concluded on Friday that he would donate any winnings, minus his attorney's fees, to charities.

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