Verdict upheld against 'Girls Gone Wild' founder

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Updated: 6/23 3:43 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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