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Ruling: Joe Francis still defamed Steve Wynn, but now only owes him $19 million

AP Photo/Nick Ut, Chris Pizzello

File photos showing casino mogul Steve Wynn (L) and "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis (R). A judge has cut casino mogul Steve Wynn's slander verdict against "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis by $21 million, more than half of the original $40 million jury verdict. A jury found that Francis slandered Wynn when he claimed the casino mogul threatened to kill him and bury him in the desert.

The saga of Steve Wynn and Joe Francis (and sometimes Quincy Jones) continues with a new ruling.

The $40 million award in the Wynn versus Francis defamation lawsuit was scaled back by roughly half on Friday, the Associated Press reports. The verdict, favoring casino mogul Wynn, was reduced to $19 million by Superior Court Judge Joanne O'Donnell.

One million of the $21 million reduction is related to slander allegations stemming from a "Good Morning America" (GMA) appearance. "Girls Gone Wild" founder Francis' legal team argued it was an error to allow jurors to consider those remarks.

The bulk of O'Donnell's ruling was the elimination of the entire $20 million in punitive damages, an award she called "speculative" on the part of the jury, and "the result of the jury's dislike of the defendant and/or his businesses." Yes, the judge concluded that this group of people may not have liked the guy behind "Girls Gone Wild" and the existence of "Girls Gone Wild" in the first place.

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