LAS VEGAS — Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis has been ordered to pay casino mogul Steve Wynn $7.5 million resulting from a 4-yeard old defamation lawsuit.
The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that the judgment was handed down yesterday by Judge Mark Denton in a “prove-up hearing” at which Wynn testified.
Uncontested lawsuits are held before a judge in "prove-up hearings."
Wynn was awarded $5 million in compensatory and $2.5 million in punitive damages.
Last November, Francis sued Wynn Las Vegas casino and resort for falsely accusing him of reneging on a $2.5 million marker.
Francis had asked for a continuance so he could secure a new lawyer, but Wynn’s legal team managed to keep the case alive and won a judgment against Francis.
Last September, Francis was exonerated on the criminal charges stemming from the allegations of the gambling debt.
In his federal complaint at that time, Francis said he was unable to settle the marker because he was otherwise engaged, with the "tax-related matter."
However, a civil judgment against him is pending appeal.
Responding to yesterday's decision, Francis' lawyer, David Houston, told TMZ, "We will appeal this order. Joe was not allowed to defend himself."
Francis and Houston said, "Even if this order stands, it will only be a small offset from the 10's of millions of dollars that we are requesting from Steve Wynn in another lawsuit — in a less Wynn-friendly courtroom."