Steve Wynn could be tried for not registering as a Chinese lobbyist


Former Wynn Resorts Ltd. CEO Steve Wynn could face trial next year for failing to register as a Chinese lobbyist, according to a filing Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Justice Department first filed a lawsuit in May against Wynn to force him to register as a foreign agent, after making repeated requests. The government accused him of delivering a message to then-President Donald Trump on behalf of a Chinese government official. Wynn argued he was not lobbying when he told the Trump administration that China wanted the United States to extradite Guo Wengui, an exile who has criticized the Chinese government.

In Tuesday’s filing, Wynn and the Justice Department said they did not expect to reach a settlement in the case.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is expected to rule on Wynn’s motion to dismiss the case within two weeks. If the case goes to trial, Boasberg said documents supporting both parties would be due within 10 months.

The government claimed that in 2017 Wynn was acting to protect its casino operations in Macau when it briefed Trump on China’s stance on Wengui.

Lawyers for Wynn said he passed the message on to Sun Lijun, then vice minister of China’s Ministry of Public Security. Wynn said he relayed the message as a diplomatic offer and Trump ultimately rejected it.

Wynn said, through his Washington attorneys Reid Weingarten and Brian Heberlig, that his obligation to file a request under the Foreign Agents Registration Act ended after he forwarded Lijun’s message 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 rights and that the Justice Department’s complaint did not meet the legal standard to trigger the need for registration.

The government filing is just the latest in a series of actions that have plagued the former casino executive, including an ongoing federal class action lawsuit filed in 2019 against Steve Wynn and Wynn Resorts.

Earlier this month, the Nevada Gaming Control Board confirmed that it was preparing for a disciplinary hearing before the Nevada Gaming Commission against the former Wynn for sexual harassment. No date has been set for the hearing.

The move is part of the fallout stemming from January 2018 reports by multiple publications, including the Review-Journal and the Wall Street Journal, which alleged Wynn of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. He denied the allegations.

Wynn resigned as CEO and President of Wynn Resorts in February 2018.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.


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