Tag Archives: Vegas

Judge orders casino company, insurer to pay $800M to Vegas shooting victims

A court on Wednesday approved a total of $ 800 million US in payout cash from casino company MGM Resorts International and its insurers to more than 4,400 relatives and victims of the Las Vegas strip shooting that was the deadliest in recent U.S. history. 

The action makes final a deal announced earlier this month and settles dozens of lawsuits on the eve of the third anniversary of the shooting that killed 58 people and injured more than 850 at an open-air concert near the Mandalay Bay resort.

Clark County District Court Judge Linda Bell, in her brief order, cited “near-unanimous participation in the settlement among potential claimants.” 

Authorities said more than 22,000 people were attending an outdoor music festival when a gunman firing military-style weapons from windows on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay rained rapid-fire bullets into the crowd.

MGM Resorts, owner of the hotel and the concert venue, acknowledged no liability with the settlement. It will pay $ 49 million US, while its insurance companies will pay $ 751 million US.

“We are grateful that the decision brings families, victims and the community closer to closure,” the company said in a statement. It noted the anniversary of the Oct. 1, 2017, event, calling it “a time of great sadness and reflection.”

Payments expected by the end of the year

Memorial ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday at several venues in Las Vegas, including a reading of the names of the slain beginning at 10:05 p.m. — the time the first shots rang out.

Attorney Robert Eglet, the plaintiffs’ lawyer who spent a year arranging the settlement with clients, legal firms and attorneys in at least 10 states, said amounts to be disbursed will be determined by two retired judges and he’s hopeful that payments will begin going out by the end of the year.

“We’ll send out notices of the order. After 30 days the $ 800 million will be deposited,” Eglet said.

Eglet previously said that everyone involved “recognized there are no winners in long, drawn-out litigation with multiple trials where people and the community are reliving the event every time we try a case.” 

A line-by-line list of victims, identified by their initials only, runs for more than 170 pages of a 225-page civil complaint filed Sept. 9 seeking compensation and punitive damages from MGM Resorts. It accused the casino company of negligence, wrongful death and liability in the 2017 shooting.

In this Oct. 1, 2017 file photo, police officers stand at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Local police and the FBI have never determined a motive for the attack. (John Locher/Associated Press)

Millions of dollars could go to the most severely and permanently injured, Eglet said, depending on factors including age, number of dependents, type of injuries, previous and future medical treatment, and ability to work.

A minimum $ 5,000 US would go to each person who filed a claim for unseen injuries.

Court filings in the case don’t mention the gunman, Stephen Paddock, who killed himself before police closed in. 

Las Vegas police and the FBI determined the 64-year-old retired accountant and high-stakes poker player meticulously planned the attack and acted alone. They theorized he may have sought notoriety, but said they never determined a clear motive for the attack.

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Anderson Cooper Gets Support From Twitter After Confronting Las Vegas Mayor Over Coronavirus Comments

Anderson Cooper Gets Support From Twitter After Confronting Las Vegas Mayor Over Coronavirus Comments | Entertainment Tonight

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In capitalist mecca Las Vegas, social democrat Sanders cements Democratic front-runner status

What a setting for a socialist revolution: Las Vegas.

Bernie Sanders swept Sin City on Saturday, dominating the Nevada caucuses in a victory that makes the 78-year-old  U.S. senator the unequivocal 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner.

He even hit the jackpot at the Bellagio hotel.

The casino complex famed for its shooting fountains was one of the most important caucus locations, as one of several on the Vegas Strip where the tens of thousands of people who cook, clean, serve and deal cards for tourists were eligible to vote on their lunch break.

Underscoring logistical problems that have hampered primaries in other U.S. states, some people struggled to find the voting site and were locked out because they arrived late. It’s a sprawling complex. 

To reach the grand ballroom that hosted the meeting, one needs to pass the fountains in the shadow of the replica Eiffel Tower. Once inside, there’s a Hermès store in the entrance that locks its doors for every customer — Hermès sells $ 8,000 US purses. Beyond that, there’s the $ 100-a-hand blackjack tables. Then there’s a long hallway with velvet walls and chandeliers, which oversees a courtyard with cypress trees shaped a bit like the ones at the Palace of Versailles.

By the time lunch was over, Sanders had conquered this cathedral of capitalism. 

New supporters

When voting finished, Jadira Juarez returned to her shift in housekeeping. She said she supports Sanders for a few reasons — notably, his promise to make college free. 

She’s worried about the skyrocketing cost of education: “I have four boys — I want that for my kids,” she said.

While she supported Sanders four years ago, and he lost, she sees the wind turning in his favour this primary season.

“I have all my family, my friends, everybody, all voting for Bernie. I hope he wins this time.” 

It’s looking likelier after Saturday.

A mobile billboard advertising democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren moves along Las Vegas Boulevard earlier this month. (John Locher/The Associated Press)

That’s because Nevada was the canary in the coal mine for Sanders’s campaign in 2016.

It was the first place he suffered a clear loss, and it presaged a string of defeats in states with large Latino populations, which happen to include the two biggest prizes this March 3, Super Tuesday: Texas and California. 

This time, he’s made it into the U.S. southwest — and the canary’s still alive. By the time results were out Saturday night, Sanders had already moved on to campaign in Texas.

Winning minority voters

Saturday’s result blew away the one caveat looming over any prognostication about his chances of being the nominee: Could he win minority voters?

Not only did Sanders trounce the competition among Latinos, he showed strong support among nearly every conceivable subsection of the electorate, according to entrance polls

He won white voters and Latino voters, and nearly won a plurality of black voters. He won a majority of college grads and non-college grads; the young, the middle-aged, and the nearly seniors; very-liberal voters and moderates; frequent caucus participants and first-time ones.

The one group that overwhelmingly rejected him? 

Voters over age 65.

And this is where lots of Democrats get nervous. Virtually every supporter of a rival candidate interviewed over the last few days said it’s not Sanders’s policies they dislike so much, and all said they’d eventually back him if he’s the nominee.

In this 2018 photo, the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino reflects the last sunlight of the day along the Las Vegas Strip. (John Locher/The Associated Press)

But several said they’ll push the fight against him as far as they can — even into the summer convention. 

The reason they most-often cited? Fear he’ll be demolished by U.S. President Donald Trump in a general election.

“So many people are worried about this socialist name tag on him,” said John De La Huerta, a gardener at the Bellagio who supported former vice-president Joe Biden. 

“I believe they’re going to kill him in the election on something like that.”


At a Biden rally, Cindy Tyeskey-Gage said she’d vote for Sanders if she had to. 

But she fears he might cost the Democrats dearly — including in suburban districts key to keeping the House of Representatives. “It’s time to start worrying. It’s time to start worrying yesterday,” she said.

It so happens the only group that resoundingly rejected Sanders on Saturday, seniors, is the most consistently active group of voters in a general election.

Medicare for all? U.S. seniors already have it

In the key state of Florida, the Trump campaign is also testing messages designed to repel Cuban and Venezuelan expats on account of Sanders’s self-described democratic socialism. In Pennsylvania, Trump will certainly attack his plan to end fossil-fuel fracking.

People wait in line to vote early at the Culinary Workers Union on Feb. 17 in Las Vegas. Some of Sanders’s supporters had been criticized for lashing out at the union for not supporting their candidate. The union didn’t endorse any candidate. (John Locher/The Associated Press)

The Sanders team pushes back hard against any questions over his electability. 

They say he not only polls just about as well as Biden against Trump, he also blows Biden out of the water when it comes to turning people out, drawing far bigger crowds and a far more donations.

Biden did just well enough to survive into his must-win contest next week in South Carolina. But Sanders keeps cutting into his lead with a vital group sustaining Biden’s hopes in South Carolina: African Americans.

‘Taxing the rich’

Like most Democrats, Kimberly Carr said she’d vote for anyone against Trump. 

But she wants Sanders. The VIP host at the Bellagio supported Elizabeth Warren, then switched to Sanders on the second ballot in Saturday’s caucuses.

She said the party needs someone with fire in the belly and bold policy ideas to take on Trump. She has two kids in college and loves Sanders’s zero-tuition policy.

As she listed the Sanders policies she likes, one in particular made her burst out laughing.

Carr’s job is to usher the highest-paying casino customers to their rooms upon arrival and guarantee they’re pampered with the finest luxuries the Bellagio has to offer.

That policy she likes? “Taxing the rich,” she said, laughing. 

With that, she left the caucus area and stepped into the velveted hallway. In the adjacent outdoor courtyard, it was raining — making it an unusual day for a glittering strip in the Mojave Desert.

Watch: Sanders front-runner in Democrat race after Nevada sweep

Bernie Sanders swept Las Vegas on Saturday, dominating the Nevada caucuses in a victory that makes the senator the unequivocal 2020 Democratic presidential front-runner. 7:42

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Mike Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders main targets at Vegas Democrats’ debate

From the opening bell, Democrats unleashed an aggressive verbal assault on New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg and raised new questions about Bernie Sanders’ take-no-prisoners politics in a contentious debate Wednesday night on the Las Vegas Strip.

The former New York City mayor was forced to defend his divisive record on race, gender and Wall Street in his debate-stage debut, while Sanders, appearing in his ninth of the 2020 primary season, tried to beat back pointed questions about his health and his ability to defeat President Donald Trump this fall.

It was a raucous affair just three days before Nevada voters decide the third contest of the Democratic Party’s turbulent 2020 primary.

Sanders lashed out at Bloomberg’s policing policies as New York City mayor that he said targeted “African-American and Latinos in an outrageous way.”

In a fight for her political life, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was a leading aggressor early against Bloomberg. She called him “a billionaire who calls people ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.'”

WATCH | Warren likens Bloomberg to Trump:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren opens the debate with a sharp attack against Mike Bloomberg. 0:41

Sanders lashed out at Bloomberg’s policing policies as mayor that he said targeted “African-American and Latinos in an outrageous way,” and former vice-president Joe Biden charged that his “stop-and-frisk” policy ended up “throwing five million black men up against the wall.”

Non-disclosure agreements

Bloomberg stumbled at the outset when pressed on his record in business and allegations of sexual harassment at his company. Several women alleged they were discriminated against and Bloomberg himself created a culture of sexual harassment.

Both Warren and Biden called on him to release women involved in the lawsuits from non-disclosure agreements.

“We have a very few non-disclosure agreements — none of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told,” Bloomberg said.

“They are being muzzled by you and you could release them from that immediately,” Warren charged.

WATCH | Warren goes after Bloomberg on nondisclosure agreements: 

Mike Bloomberg’s opponents challenge him to release the people from nondisclosure agreements they have signed with him or his companies. 2:23

Bloomberg defended himself on all counts and took a shot at Sanders’ electability: “I don’t think there’s any chance of the senator beating Donald Trump.”

Bloomberg also said the surest way to get Trump re-elected was to have him listen to some of the Democrats talking about the economy. 

WATCH | Bloomberg says Trump could get re-elected:

Mike Bloomberg says the best way to re-elect Trump is to have him listen to the Democrats talking about the economy. 0:51

But the intense criticism Bloomberg faced threatened to undermine his surprisingly swift rise from nonpartisan megadonor to top-tier contender.

Fears about Sanders

The debate also marked a major test for Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who is emerging as the front-runner in the Democrats’ nomination fight, whether his party’s establishment likes it or not. A growing group of donors, elected officials and political operatives fear that Sanders’ uncompromising progressive politics could be a disaster in the general election against Trump, yet they’ve struggled to coalesce behind a single moderate alternative.

Sanders might have bolstered those fears when he emerged as the only Democratic candidate on the stage who said the candidate with the most delegates should win the party’s presidential nomination — even if he or she doesn’t have a majority. 

His rivals said the party should follow its rules at the Democratic convention rather than handing the nomination to someone without 50 per cent of delegates. 

Senator Bernie Sanders might have bolstered concerns the Democratic party establishment has about him being the party’s presidential candidate. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

That sets up a clash should the primary season end without a clear winner, giving way to a contested convention. Delegates are picked up through state parties and caucuses, and party rules state a candidate needs a majority to become the nominee. 

If no candidate hits that threshold initially, superdelegates would be allowed to vote on a second ballot. They include members of Congress and other party leaders. Sanders’ campaign fought in 2016 to eliminate superdelegate votes in the first stage after the majority of them sided with Hillary Clinton.

High stakes

Former Midwestern mayor Pete Buttigieg attacked both Bloomberg and Sanders, warning that one threatened to “burn down” the Democratic Party and the other was trying to buy it.

He called them “the two most polarizing figures on this stage.”

Bloomberg and Sanders may have been prime targets at the outset, but the stakes were no less dire for the other four candidates on stage.

Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar, skewering her for failing to name the Mexican president in an interview last week.

Buttigieg said despite her role on committees overseeing border security and trade, the Minnesota senator was “not able to speak to literally the first thing, the politics,” of the neighbouring country by naming Mexico’s leader, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Klobuchar retorted: “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb? Are you mocking me, Pete?”

WATCH | That heated exchange between Buttigieg and Klobuchar: 

Former mayor Pete Buttigieg got an angry reaction from Sen. Amy Klobuchar for suggesting she lacks the experience to be president. 1:16

Warren defended Klobuchar and called Buttigieg’s argument “unfair,” adding that “missing a name all by itself does not indicate that you do not understand what is going on.”

Longtime establishment favourite Biden, Barack Obama’s two-term vice-president, desperately needed to breathe new life into his flailing campaign, which entered the night at the bottom of a moderate muddle behind Buttigieg and Klobuchar. And after a bad finish last week in New Hampshire, Warren was fighting just to stay in the conversation.

As Democrats were clustered inside the casino hosting the debate, outside on the Las Vegas Strip, Republicans hired a mobile electronic billboard truck to drive slowly in front of tourists, flashing a message promoting Trump’s re-election.

Bloomberg is avoiding the earliest primary states, focusing instead on campaigning in the 14 states that vote in the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries. And his massive campaign — with more than 2,000 staffers nationwide and more than $ 400 million US spent on ads already — has given him enough of a boost to win high-profile endorsements and double-digit support in the polls.

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Shania Twain Talks Fanboy Diplo, Brad Pitt & Cooking for David Copperfield in Las Vegas (Exclusive)

Shania Twain Talks Fanboy Diplo, Brad Pitt & Cooking for David Copperfield in Las Vegas (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Lady Gaga Soaks in an Ice Bath After Fall Off Stage During Las Vegas Show

Lady Gaga Soaks in an Ice Bath After Fall Off Stage During Las Vegas Show | Entertainment Tonight

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Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham Get Married Again in the Back of a Pink Cadillac in Vegas: Pics!

Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham Get Married Again in the Back of a Pink Cadillac in Vegas: Pics! | Entertainment Tonight

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RuPaul Announces ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!’ Vegas Residency

RuPaul Announces ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!’ Vegas Residency | Entertainment Tonight

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Cristiano Ronaldo loses bid to dismiss or fully seal Vegas rape case

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has lost a bid for dismissal or complete secrecy in a federal lawsuit by a Nevada woman who accuses him of raping her at a Las Vegas resort in 2009.

Attorney Larissa Drohobyczer, representing Ronaldo’s accuser, Kathryn Mayorga, said Friday she was satisfied with U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey’s ruling in Las Vegas.

Ronaldo’s attorney, Peter Christiansen, declined to comment.

Ronaldo’s attorneys say their client and Mayorga had consensual sex in June 2009. They deny it was rape.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Mayorga gave consent through her lawyers to make her name public.

Her lawsuit seeks monetary damages of at least $ 200,000 US. It alleges that Ronaldo or people working for him allowed word to become public last year of a hush-money settlement that paid her $ 375,000.

‘Cat already out of bag’

The judge on Wednesday rejected Ronaldo’s claim that releasing court records would “weaponized the allegations in this case,” risk public scandal and harm Ronaldo’s reputation and endorsements.

Ronaldo, from Portugal, is one of the most recognizable and highly paid players in sports. He plays in Italy for the Turin-based soccer club Juventus.

“The cat is already out of the bag about Mayorga’s allegations” and the settlement, Dorsey wrote. “I’m not satisfied that Ronaldo’s interest in holding Mayorga to her agreement is enough to justify sealing the entire record in this case.”

However, the judge called the settlement between Ronaldo and Mayorga in 2010 a confidential contract between private parties.

“The documents themselves and direct quotes from any of them will remain sealed,” she said.

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Soccer star Ronaldo won’t face Vegas rape charge, prosecutor says

Cristiano Ronaldo won’t face criminal charges after a woman accused the soccer star of raping her in his suite at a Las Vegas resort more than 10 years ago, the city’s top prosecutor said Monday.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he reviewed a new police investigation and determined that Kathryn Mayorga’s claim can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming,” Wolfson said in a statement.

Ronaldo’s attorney, Peter Christiansen, was travelling Monday and not immediately available to comment. Christiansen has said Ronaldo and Mayorga had consensual sex in 2009. He denied it was rape.

Attorneys for Mayorga, a former model and schoolteacher, did not immediately respond to telephone, text and email messages.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault. Mayorga gave consent through her lawyers to make her name public.

Lawsuit pending

She has a lawsuit pending against Ronaldo in U.S. court in Las Vegas that accused Ronaldo or those working for him of conspiracy, defamation, breach of contract and coercion and fraud. She says they allowed terms of a confidential financial settlement with Mayorga to become public.

Mayorga’s attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall, has acknowledged that Mayorga received $ 375,000 US in hush money following the encounter. He maintained that agreement was made under pressure from “fixers” trying to protect Ronaldo’s reputation.

The lawsuit seeks to void the agreement and collect at least $ 200,000 more from Ronaldo.

Ronaldo, who plays in Italy for the Turin-based soccer club Juventus, is one of the most recognizable and highly paid players in sports.

Mayorga underwent a medical exam to collect DNA evidence shortly after she says Ronaldo assaulted her in June 2009. She spoke again with police for the new investigation, and authorities this year obtained a sample of Ronaldo’s DNA through Italian authorities.

Police said the initial investigation was closed in 2009 because Mayorga only identified her attacker as a European soccer player, not by name, and did not say where she claims the rape took place. The investigation was reopened in last year at the request of her attorneys, shortly before they sued Ronaldo.

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