AP Wins Defamation Case Over Wynn Misconduct Report

Last week, the Nevada Supreme Court delivered its verdict on a defamation lawsuit brought by casino mogul Steve Wynn against the Associated Press, stemming from a 2018 article that highlighted sexual misconduct allegations against him. The lawsuit was dismissed, with the court highlighting the role of Nevada’s anti-SLAPP laws, which protect against legal actions that aim to intimidate or silence on matters of public interest. The justices pointed out that the article was a result of a good faith effort by the AP to inform the public on such an issue. An initial lawsuit against Wynn on the matter, was resolved in July last year.

The contested article had reported on allegations made by two women, including claims of sexual assault and the birth of Wynn’s child. Wynn’s legal arguments focused on the omission of details that might cast doubt on the women’s accounts. However, the court found this argument unconvincing. Lauren Easton, AP’s vice president of corporate communications, expressed agreement with the court’s decision, emphasizing the importance of the judiciary’s support for truthful reporting.

In contrast, Wynn’s attorney, Todd Bice, criticized the ruling, arguing that it misrepresented Nevada law and offered undue protection to what they deemed a false report. Nonetheless, previous judgments had determined that the AP had “fairly reported” the allegations, initially brought to light by the Wall Street Journal in 2018. These reports detailed a pattern of misconduct, including a substantial settlement paid to a former manicurist who accused Wynn of forcing her into sexual acts.

Following these allegations, Wynn Resorts faced scrutiny from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, leading to an investigation into the company’s handling of the misconduct claims. Wynn Resorts committed to a comprehensive internal review, aiming to reinforce a workplace culture based on respect, corporate responsibility, and community service. This period of introspection and change underscored the company’s dedication to its core values and the well-being of its employees.

Steve Wynn’s departure from the helm of the company six years ago was a direct consequence of the controversy. He has since severed all ties with Wynn Resorts by selling his entire stake in the business, marking the end of his association with the gaming and hospitality empire he once led.

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With a net worth of more than $3 billion, Wynn is considered one of the top 500 richest Americans by Forbes Magazine.

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