In 2018, the “me too” movement claimed casino owner Steve Wynn as one of its most famous victims. The Associated Press obtained a police report showing that a woman named Halina Kuta had accused Wynn of raping her in the early 1970s. The AP ran with the story, and it was repeated by other news outlets. This is the New York Times version:
The fallout for Mr. Wynn and his empire has been swift since the first allegations were disclosed. He resigned as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, and his name was stripped from buildings and programs at various universities.
In one police report obtained by The A.P., a woman told police officers that Mr. Wynn raped her at least three times around 1973 and 1974 at her Chicago apartment. She reported that she became pregnant and gave birth to a girl in a gas station restroom.
In one instance, the woman claimed that Mr. Wynn pinned her against the refrigerator and raped her. She said he then made a phone call, kissed her on the cheek and left. The report does not explain how Mr. Wynn would have entered the apartment or whether they had known each other. The woman said she did not give him a key.
There were other allegations of sexual harassment, but the rape claim by Ms. Kuta was by far the most serious. As the Daily Wire reports, however, Kuta’s assertions were ridiculous on their face. She claimed to be the mother of Wynn’s daughter, but the daughter was born years before the purported rapes. She also said the was the model for a Picasso painting called “Le Reve,” which Wynn owned at the time. Picasso painted Le Reve more than a decade before Kuta was born. The AP and other news outlets simply omitted the elements of Kuta’s story that should have–to put it mildly–raised suspicions.
Wynn sued Kuta for defamation, requesting $1 in damages. The case was tried to a Las Vegas judge, who has now ruled in Wynn’s favor. The judge found that Kuta “knowingly made a false report” to the Las Vegas police, and that her “story seems to be totally fanciful.” It also came out in court that Kuta had demanded $150 million from Wynn in exchange for retracting her allegations.
This isn’t the first time, of course, that the Associated Press and the New York Times have peddled “totally fanciful” stories that served their agendas, and it won’t be the last. Wynn sued the AP as well as Kuta, but the judge found in AP’s favor because its story relied on a police report. Wynn has appealed that part of the court’s ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court. This case illustrates why President Trump is correct in believing that our defamation laws need to be reformed.