© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference on May 3, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. REUTERS/Mike Blake
(Reuters) – A federal judge in Washington, D.C. said on Wednesday that casino mogul Steve Wynn cannot be ordered to register with the U.S. Justice Department as a Chinese law enforcement officer foreign agent.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in May asking a court to order Wynn, the former CEO of Wynn Casino, to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Wynn lobbied then-President Donald Trump on behalf of China in 2017, officials said. Wynn’s lawyers deny that he was an agent of the Chinese government.
U.S. District Judge James Bosberg said Wednesday that Republican donors cannot be required to register because any relationship between Wynn and the Chinese government ended in 2017 for the agent. In making the ruling, the judge pointed to past precedent in federal court in Washington.
The judge said he did not determine whether Wynn was lobbying on behalf of China. He also said the Justice Department could impose criminal sanctions on Wynn for failing to disclose the alleged lobbying if the statute of limitations has not expired.
A Justice Department spokesman said the department disagreed with the ruling and was considering its options.
Wynn’s attorneys reiterated their denials of the lobbying charges in a statement. “This is a claim that should not have been made, and the court agreed,” they said.