Steve Wynn Denies Threatening to Kill Joe Francis

Steve Wynn testified that he has never sent an email in his life.

ByABC News
September 5, 2012, 3:37 AM

Sept. 5, 2012— -- Billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn told jurors that he never threatened to kill "Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis in emails because he has never sent an email in his life.

Wynn and Francis faced off in a Los Angeles Court Tuesday over allegations of death threats, defamation and unpaid gambling debts. In their latest legal fight, Wynn, 70, is suing Francis for defamation, saying Francis has been telling people about the alleged death threats, in an attempt to ruin his reputation, and hurting his businesses.

Francis says Wynn sent ominous, threatening emails about him that were seen by multiple people, including legendary music producer Quincy Jones.

"I've never sent an email in my life," Wynn told jurors in Los Angeles Tuesday. "Joe Francis decided he was going to destroy the company because he didn't pay his marker [gambling debt]."

Francis described the alleged emails in an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday.

"In all caps, and then exclamation points -- like a crazy person's email – [Wynn wrote], 'I'm going to hit to him in the back of the head with a shovel and have him buried in the middle of the desert,'" Francis said. "I was afraid for my life. He made it very clear that he wanted to kill me."

In court, Francis, 39, admitted that he never actually saw the emails, saying he only got a glimpse of the wording when Jones flashed a stack of emails in front of him.

Jones, who is Francis' next-door neighbor, was originally excused from testifying on medical grounds, but is expected to testify today.

Francis claims that Jones told him that Wynn was a gangster and a murderer who was the de-facto head of the Genovese mob family. In deposition testimony read in court, Francis claimed Jones said of Wynn, "He's gangster. He's old Vegas. He doesn't play."

Wynn also testified that he has been repeatedly investigated by gambling oversight agencies and the FBI for a presidential commission appointment and wouldn't be allowed to run casinos if he made threats.

"It would be a singularly self-destructive, incredibly, incredibly stupid," Wynn said in court.

This is the third time the two have faced off in court in one of the nastiest legal battles Sin City has ever seen. Each side has already claimed victory over the other.

The court battle between the two moguls began in 2009 when Francis, who has a reported $150 million fortune and has faced charges of tax evasion, child abuse and prostitution in the past, refused to pay a $2 million debt owed to one of Wynn's casinos.

After Francis publicly accused Wynn of deceptive practices at his casinos, Wynn sued him for defamation. A Nevada judge ruled in favor of Wynn in February and ordered Francis to pay $7.5 million.

While on the witness stand, Wynn took a few shots at Francis, calling him a flake.

"Joe Francis is the most desperate character, the most reprehensible character, in my 70 years of living. I've never bumped into anybody quite as awful," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.