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“Judge O’Donnell committed a judicial error by allowing this case to even proceed to a trial, and she knows it,” Mr. Francis said. “This is only the first step of her backpedalling and unwinding her illegal actions in order to try to keep her job as a judge.”

Mr. Francis‘ lawyers also have argued the statements on “Good Morning America” were not part of the initial case and shouldn’t be included in the judgment.

The trial, which ended in September, centered on Mr. Francis‘ repeated claims that he was told Mr. Wynn had threatened to hit him in the head with a shovel and have him buried in the desert. Mr. Wynn denied making such threats and claimed they damaged his reputation and put his casino license at risk.

Mr. Francis testified that he heard about the claims from Grammy-winner Quincy Jones, who told the jury that no such statements were made.

Mr. Wynn’s attorney, Mitchell Langberg, said the casino executive was not disappointed by the ruling. “Steve Wynn is very happy with a $19 million compensatory damages award,” he said.

Mr. Langberg said the ruling upheld the jury’s determination that Mr. Francis made untrue statements about Mr. Wynn, confirming “what the case was about.”

Judge O’Donnell’s ruling states that the jury had no evidence to support awarding punitive damages in the case. “The jury’s punitive damage award was speculative and clearly the result of the jury’s dislike of the defendant and/or his businesses,” the judge wrote.

Mr. Wynn is the CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd. and designed Las Vegas’ Mirage, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore casinos. After the trial, Mr. Wynn called Mr. Francis a “digital assassin” and said he hoped the large verdict would discourage others from taking what he described as cheap shots.

From wire dispatches and staff reports