Steve Wynn Wins Court Battle Against US Government Over China Dealings

  • Three-judge panel dismissed the case stating: “Wynn long ago ceased acting as a foreign agent”
  • The DOJ’s lawsuit centered on claims Steve Wynn lobbied ex-President Trump on behalf of China
  • The DOJ warned the ruling “could potentially incentivize deceptive tactics” by foreign agents
Wynn building
Steve Wynn emerged the winner in a legal battle after a DC Circuit panel rejected a lawsuit accusing him of lobbying on behalf of China. [Image:]

Decision goes Wynn’s way

Former casino kingpin Steve Wynn has finally had a legal ruling go his way. The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed a civil lawsuit the Department of Justice filed against him in May 2022.

ending the DOJ’s attempts to compel Wynn to register as a foreign agent

The Circuit rejected the suit on Friday, ending the DOJ’s attempts to compel Wynn to register as a foreign agent. The government body accused him of lobbying ex-President Donald Trump for the extradition of a Chinese billionaire.

Wynn’s attorneys argued that any compulsion the DOJ placed on the ex-Wynn Resorts Chairman and CEO to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) expired in October 2017, the month the Feds allege Wynn’s China dealings concluded.

A trio of DC Circuit Judges, namely Cornelia Pillard, Patricia Millett, and Karen Henderson, dismissed the case. The three-judge panel stated that since “Wynn long ago ceased acting as a foreign agent, he has no present obligation to register.”

Welcome ruling for Wynn

The Circuit’s decision to dismiss the suit filed by the DOJ in 2022 was a rare happy day in court for Wynn.

In July, Wynn agreed to pay a $10m settlement and permanently exit the Nevada gaming industry over a sex abuse case. Then earlier this year, the Nevada Supreme Court tossed Wynn’s defamation suit against the Associated Press over the alleged rape of a woman in the 1970s.

The DOJ’s 2022 lawsuit centers on claims going back to 2017 when Wynn notified Trump and members of his administration that China was seeking the extradition of Guo Wengui, a billionaire who had been openly critical of Beijing.

A turning point in Wynn’s defense was the previous ruling by DC District Judge James Boasberg, who dismissed the fed’s suit stating FARA was only applicable to current violations.

On Friday, Wynn’s attorney, Paul Hastings partner Robert Luskin, argued that the three-judge panel must uphold Boasberg’s ruling. According to Lawyer Monthly, Luskin argued Boasberg’s ruling should be upheld “since it was bound by a previous DC Circuit decision on the interpretation of FARA.”

Feds lose argument

The feds tried to fight back, warning that the lower court ruling “could potentially incentivize deceptive tactics by individuals who may choose not to disclose their status as foreign agents.”

Wynn’s case could inspire copycat tactics by individuals

The DOJ argued, ultimately to no avail, that Wynn’s case could inspire copycat tactics by individuals who may see it as a way to avoid any legal comeback “if they cease their activities on behalf of non-American entities.”

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