Steve Wynn wants a DC federal court to toss a DOJ civil lawsuit that demands he register as a foreign agent.
The feds sued Wynn in May, accusing him of working as an agent for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The lawsuit claims Wynn, 80, tried to influence the Trump administration to deport a Chinese dissident to China.
Wynn denies the allegation. But according to the DOJ, the casino mogul held “multiple discussions with the then-president Trump and senior officials” in 2017 about the dissident, Guo Wengui. The DOJ says Wynn exhorted Trump to “cancel the visa or otherwise remove [Guo] from the United States.” At the time, Wynn was finance chair of the Republican National Committee.
Guo sought political asylum in the US after arriving from the PRC 2014. He fled his homeland after learning he was about to be arrested on corruption charges. Guo claims the charges have been cooked up because he accused senior Chinese politicians of having corrupt ties to business leaders.
The DOJ claims Wynn was persuaded to approach Trump about Guo by then-RNC deputy finance chairman Elliot Broidy and Sun Lijun, then-vice minister of the PRC’s Ministry of Public Security.
It also claims Wynn believed it would help safeguard his operations in Macau at a time of heightened political tensions between the US and China.
In their motion to dismiss the case, Wynn’s lawyers argue that, even if the allegations were true, the obligation to register under the Foreign Agents Registration would have ceased in October 2017. That’s when the DOJ says Wynn stopped lobbying of the Trump administration.
Compelling him to register now would be a violation of his constitutional rights, according to the filing.
Don’t Shoot the Messenger
Wynn’s lawyers also argue that his conduct, as described in the DOJ complaint, does not meet the legal standards that would require him to register under FARA.
“The Complaint alleges only that Wynn was asked by Sun to deliver a message from the PRC to the Administration, and that Wynn did so while expressly disclosing that the message was coming from the PRC,” Wynn’s lawyers wrote.
“Merely delivering a message on behalf of a foreign government and checking on its status, without any accompanying efforts to influence on behalf of the foreign government, falls outside the scope of FARA,” they added.
Wynn resigned from his position as RNC chair in January 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct against female employees were published in the Wall Street Journal. He denies those allegations.
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