Adelson case goes to state supreme court

Apr 8, 2016 9:47 AM

Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz told the Nevada Supreme Court this week that judges should refrain from making public statements about cases, and a Las Vegas judge handling a lawsuit involving Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson should be forced to step aside for doing so.

An attorney for a fired former Macau casino executive countered that the judge did nothing wrong, and that Dershowitz’s argument amounted to a tactic to stall or scuttle a case Adelson doesn’t want a jury to hear.

A trial is currently scheduled for June 27 in a case poised to air boardroom decisions about how Las Vegas Sands developed its lucrative interests in the Chinese gambling enclave. Todd Bice, the attorney for former Sands China Ltd. chief executive Steven Jacobs, acknowledged, however, that the schedule was effectively frozen pending a ruling by the state high court.

“They do not want a public trial and a public airing about what they did and what was going on in Macau,” Bice said during oral arguments in Las Vegas. The four justices hearing the case did not make an immediate ruling.

“Good judges know they should not say anything to the media that would likely result in a motion to disqualify,” Dershowitz said. “I can imagine no case in this state that has been more contentious and more closely watched by the media … than this case. She should have known she was inviting trouble.”

Bice said Gonzalez did nothing wrong answering questions about her background and handling of cases in general. The Jacobs lawyer said the judge ended the interview when questions turned toward Adelson, Sands and the Jacobs case.

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected].