Two years ago, a woman named Halina Kuta told Las Vegas police that casino mogul Steve Wynn raped her in the early 1970s and that she was the real mother of Wynn’s daughter, whom she claimed to have birthed in a gas station restroom.
Despite the implausibility of Kuta’s allegations – she also claimed to have been a model for Pablo Picasso’s painting “Le Reve,” which was painted more than 10 years before Kuta was born – the media ran with the allegations against Wynn because of the #MeToo movement’s hysteria over powerful men getting accused of sexual misconduct. Wynn sued Kuta for defamation and has now won.
This week, however, The Associated Press reported that Clark County District Court Judge Ronald Israel awarded Wynn the $1 in damages that Wynn sought from Kuta, ruling that the woman did, in fact, defame the former casino mogul, who resigned in February 2018 as chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts.
“I find that Mr. Wynn’s testimony is credible and Ms. Kuta’s testimony lacks veracity in numerous areas,” Israel ruled, adding that Kuta “knowingly made a false report” to the Las Vegas police.
“This was intentional,” Israel added, “although this story seems to be totally fanciful.”
Kuta represented herself during the juryless trial for the case.
The AP used a public records request in February 2018 to obtain a redacted police report of Kuta’s allegations. The outlet then reported about the allegations against Wynn, leaving out information regarding Kuta’s more egregious claims.
“Israel ruled in August 2018 the AP report qualified as fair reporting because it relied on an official police record. He also invoked protection for the news agency under a Nevada state law known as anti-SLAPP or ‘strategic lawsuit against public participation.’ The ruling allows AP to recover legal fees in the case,” the AP reported. “Wynn has appealed that ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court, which has scheduled oral arguments April 1 in Las Vegas.”
As to how absurd Kuta’s claims were, the AP explained that Israel denied her a DNA test from Wynn’s daughter, Kevyn, because a birth certificate showed her birth date being in 1967, years before Kuta said Wynn allegedly raped her in 1973 or 1974. Also, Picasso painted “Le Reve” in 1932. Kuta was born more than a decade later.
“You’d have to be delusional not to understand that they were lies and fabrications of the worst order,” Wynn said during his testimony. “What I’m asking for is to have this miserable fiction finally called for what it is, a miserable fiction.”
“I would say that I have never set eyes on Ms. Kuta before today, but I can’t see her,” he added, referencing his diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, 50 years ago.
As to why Kuta made the allegations, she acknowledged to Wynn’s attorney Tamara Peterson that she demanded $150 million from the casino mogul to drop her claims. Kuta was also able to jump on the #MeToo bandwagon in 2018, getting instant victim status simply because she made an allegation against a powerful man.