Lawyers for former Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn on Monday asked a District of Columbia judge to dismiss a Justice Department civil suit for Wynn’s failure to register as a foreign agent under Foreign Agents Registration Act.
In May, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit after it repeatedly asked Wynn to register as a foreign agent after delivering a message to then-President Donald Trump from a Chinese government official.
Wynn’s response to the lawsuit indicates that there are three reasons why the case against him should be dismissed.
Through Washington attorneys Reid Weingarten and Brian Heberlig, Wynn said his obligation to file a complaint with FARA ended after he delivered the message from Sun Lijun, the former vice minister of public security in China, to Trump and that he no longer had a relationship with the Chinese government. .
He also said forcing him to register under FARA would violate his First and Fifth Amendment constitutional rights and that the Justice Department’s complaint did not meet the legal standard to trigger the need for registration.
FARA requires individuals to disclose to the Department of Justice when they are advocating, lobbying, or conducting public relations work in the United States for a foreign government or political entity.
The Justice Department has until August 15 to respond to Wynn’s response to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit is unusual in that it is a civil complaint. Most cases involving failure to register are prosecuted criminally.
The department alleges that Wynn acted as an agent for Sun Lijun and the People’s Republic of China in the summer of 2017.
The complaint says Wynn forwarded the country’s request to the United States to deport Chinese national Guo Wengui, who left China in 2014 during an anti-corruption crackdown led by President Xi Jinping that ensnared people close to Guo, including a senior intelligence official. Chinese authorities charged Guo with rape, kidnapping, bribery and other crimes, and demanded his return.
At the time, the Wynn company owned and operated casinos in Macau. Justice Department officials allege he pressured U.S. officials to protect his business interests there because the government had limited the number of gaming tables and machines that could operate at Wynn’s casino. It was rescheduled to renegotiate the casino’s operating licenses in 2019, according to the complaint.
The Justice Department says it sent letters to Wynn in May 2018, October 2021 and April 2022 informing him of his requirement to register under FARA.
Steve Wynn has since left Wynn Resorts, in 2018, and the casino’s license renewal in Macau has been delayed to this year and is being handled by the company.
Wynn’s court document seeking dismissal included a letter sent to the Justice Department by his attorneys in 2018 explaining why they did not believe he was required to register under the law.