Steve Wynn Files Defamation Lawsuit against Associated Press

Associated Press Lawsuit Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn sued attorney Lisa Bloom last week for $7.5 million in another defamation lawsuit.

Former Las Vegas casino executive Steve Wynn has filed a lawsuit against the Associated Press (AP) and an accuser for “false allegations of rape”. Steve Wynn’s filed the complaint in Clark County District Court on Wednesday.

The charges were made against the AP, Regina Garcia Cano, and Halina Kuta. Regina Garcia Cano is the reporter who filed the AP story which Steve Wynn says defamed him, while Halina Kuta is the woman who accused Wynn of raping her.

Halina Kuta filed a $4 million lawsuit in 2017 against Steve Wynn. She claimed in her federal lawsuit, as well as a police report made later to the Metropolitan Police Department, that Steve Wynn raped her.

Kuta claimed that she was Steve Wynn’s wife and that she had his child after he raped her in her Chicago apartment in 1973. The lawsuit she filed never mentioned the alleged rape.

“Outrageous, False, and…Improbable”

Steve Wynn’s lawyers argue in their filing that, “If reported fairly, completely, accurately, and impartially, the Police Report, like the Kuta Lawsuit, is outrageous, false and inherently improbable on its face, and the timing of its filing by Defendant Kuta is extremely suspect.”

While the story did not begin the wave of accusations against Steve Wynn — a separate Wall Street Journal article did — the Associated Press story was the most startling set of accusations in a wave of sexual misconduct allegations that came out against the 76-year old casino mogul over several weeks.

While most allegations during the time focused on sexual harassment or payoffs for children born out of wedlock, the AP story focused on possible rape. But the defamation suit involves what was left out of the article as much as what it contained.

“Media Frenzy of Accusation Against Mr. Wynn”

Regina Garcia Cano wrote the AP story based on the police report, which Wynn’s lawyers claim “created a media frenzy of accusations against Mr. Wynn”. Steve Wynn blames Garcia Cano and the Associated Press, because news outlets reprinted the article or wrote stories based upon the unsubstantiated allegations.

Both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times published Regina Garcia Cano’s original story. Eventually, many newspapers reprinted the story, which Steve Wynn says created a media frenzy about Wynn’s wrongdoing.

“With Actual Malice”

The lawsuit claims Halina Kuta made the original allegations and the AP printed the story based on her police report “with actual malice”. By leaving out the “additional outrageous, false, and inherently improbable accusations” in the original police report, Wynn’s lawyers argue that the AP created a false impression.

Wednesday’s filing stated, “The AP Defendants intentionally chose to incompletely and unfairly describe the Police Report by omitting from the AP Article the additional outrageous, false, and inherently improbable accusations found on the face of the Police Report.”

Sins of Omission

A Catholic might describe the AP as committing a “sin of omission”. Regina Garcia Cano wrote a story which described Halina Kuta’s alleged rape and a child born out of wedlock, but did not mention that Kuta claimed to have been Steve Wynn’s wife.

Since the marriage claim could be disproved through documentation (or lack thereof), publishing those claims would have undermined the force of the allegations. Since those easily disproven allegations would have undermined the weight of other accusations made in the article, leaving out the more outrageous claims did a disservice to Steve Wynn.

Under such circumstances, many would have dismissed Halina Kuta as a crank. Thus, Wynn’s lawyers claim that such an omission is more than a disservice, but instead a malicious attempt to defame him.

AP Stands by Its Reporting

Lauren Easton, the Associated Press’s Director of Media Relations, was firm in her response to the lawsuit. Easton said, “The Associated Press stands by its reporting.”

Halina Kuta’s Allegations

Other allegations made by Halina Kuta are even harder to believe. For instance, Halina Kuta claimed that Steve Wynn was orchestrating kidnappings in the 1990s, but the person allegedly kidnapped was “outrageous” by most people’s standards. Kuta’s lawsuit claims that her lovechild with the casino mogul was none other than Kevyn Wynn, the well-known daughter of Steve and Elaine Wynn.

The problem with that accusation (among others) is Kevyn Wynn was born in 1967, a full seven years before Halina Kuta claims to have been raped by Steve Wynn. Kevyn Wynn would have been 8 years old when Halina Kuta claims she was born. Steve Wynn’s accuser also claims that he “orchestrated the July 26, 1993, kidnapping of his daughter, Kevyn, and that Mr. Wynn’s ultimate objective was to have Defendant Kuta and Kevyn murdered”.

Steve Wynn’s Lawsuit

The 13-page lawsuit filing described Steve Wynn’s many contributions to society, including his business expertise and his philanthropy. The court documents describe the former Wynn Resorts CEO as a “visionary” who worked in casino and resort development for 45 years.

The lawsuit claims, “Under the circumstances surrounding the defendants’ false accusations of rape, the bedrock principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ has been dangerously converted into ‘guilty by accusation,’ which imposes the burden on Mr. Wynn to prove his innocence.”