June 23, 2014 6:55 pm

Court upholds $19 million verdict against ‘Girls Gone Wild’ founder

FILE - Nov. 16, 2010 file photo "Girls Gone Wild" founder, Joe Francis.

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file

LOS ANGELES – An appellate court has upheld a $19 million judgment against Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis in a slander case filed over his claims that casino mogul Steve Wynn threatened to kill him.

The California 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles upheld the verdict in a ruling issued Monday.

After a 2012 trial, a jury found that Francis’ statements about threats were defamatory. Both men testified during the trial.

Francis appealed the verdict, arguing he first made the comments in a court proceeding over a gambling debt and should not be held liable for them.

Francis claimed Wynn threatened to kill him in subsequent television interviews and confirmed the in-court statements to the celebrity website TMZ.

Francis said he will appeal the ruling.

Note: An earlier version of this article said the verdict was $190 million in the headline. This has been corrected.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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