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Court upholds $19M verdict against 'Girls Gone Wild' founder in case by Vegas mogul Steve Wynn

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2012 file photo, casino mogul Steve Wynn arrives at court for his slander trial in Los Angeles. An appeals court in Los Angeles on Monday, June 23, 2014, upheld a $19 million verdict against

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FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2012 file photo, casino mogul Steve Wynn arrives at court for his slander trial in Los Angeles. An appeals court in Los Angeles on Monday, June 23, 2014, upheld a $19 million verdict against "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis in a case won by Wynn. Wynn sued over statements Francis made claiming the businessman threatened to kill him over a gambling debt, but a jury determined in 2012 that the statements were defamatory. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, file)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - 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.

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