Joe Francis $20 MILLION LOSER In Steve Wynn Lawsuit

9/10/2012 12:02 PM PDT

Joe Francis -- $20 MILLION LOSER in Steve Wynn Lawsuit

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Joe Francis
just got hammered by a jury in Steve Wynn's defamation lawsuit -- the jury socked him with a $20 million verdict.

If you recall ... Wynn was suing Francis for defamation, claiming the "Girls Gone Wild" guru made bogus claims that Wynn threatened to have him killed and buried in the desert over a gambling debt.

The judge nailed Francis to the tune of $5 mil for statements made to a TMZ producer in a courtroom hallway ... talking smack on Wynn.

The jury added $11 mil for defamatory statements Francis made on "Good Morning America."

All tolled, the verdict is for $20 mil.

The jury will now decide if Francis gets hit with punitive damages .. and that could be an additional $60 mil.

Francis is worth a reported $150 million.

Francis tells TMZ he believes the judge made 2 reversible and appealable errors -- one of which was allowing Wynn to add the 'GMA' claim at the end of the trial.  Francis also believes some of the statements that allegedly constitute defamation were made in a court proceeding where Francis was seeking a restraining order against Wynn and were therefore privileged.