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Francis had previously said at a court hearing that Wynn threatened him over a $2 million gambling debt Francis incurred at Wynn’s hotel. Celebrity news website TMZ reported on the hearing and Francis confirmed his allegations to a reporter from the site afterward.

“He committed character assassination,” Langberg said. “He did it for a simple reason _ he didn’t want to pay his debt.”

“I made a statement in a courtroom seeking a restraining order against Steve Wynn, which is 100 percent privileged,” Francis said. “I was afraid for my life and I only made that statement when I was ordered by a judge to do so.”

Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell ruled that Francis‘ attorney could not argue that the statement was protected because it was made in a courtroom, since it was made during a proceeding over the debt and there were no indications Francis sought a restraining order.

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Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP