Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has never shied away from the spotlight, but he’s asking for cameras to be banned from the courtroom as he takes the witness stand in a high-profile civil case coming up. Adelson made the request to the judge, saying his personal security is at stake if cameras are allowed to roll during the proceedings.
Not leaving the situation to chance, Adelson hired top-tier Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz to plead his case. Interestingly, the prominent attorney has typically argued in favor of courtroom cameras over a forty-year career, but he’s now been hired to play Devil’s advocate (nothing personal, Sheldon.)
Security Threats Based on Political Affiliations
Between Adelson’s massive campaign contributions to the Republican party in 2012 (running in the neighborhood of $150 million), and his “strong advocacy for Israel,” (according to Dershowitz), Adelson has become the target of threats, although Derhsowitz was unable to pinpoint specifically what those threats were, or how being digitally recorded in court would affect that possibility in any way.
“Mr. Adelson is an extremely controversial figure, ” was all Dershowitz had to say on the topic of his client’s exposure to security threats. He added that in recent years, threats “have been getting worse and worse.”
Here Comes the Judge
Now it will be up to the judge to make a judgment call on the matter, based on findings in a closed chambers session. Clark County District Judge Rob Bare will preside and has already agreed to interrogate Brian Nagel, who is Sands’ global head of security, to help Bare make a determination. In a rather bizarre twist, although no media per se will be allowed in the closed session, attorneys for same will be; however, they will be bound by confidentiality not to divulge anything they hear. Let’s see: they’re on the media’s payroll, but aren’t supposed to tell them anything. Hmmm. Call us cynical, but alrighty then.
The private chambers meeting resulted from court papers that claimed that were Nagel to discuss the matter in public, “the precise nature of the threat and the types and methods of [Sands] security operations would itself exacerbate the threat.”
All My Trials
The trial (actually, retrial) itself revolves around Richard Suen, a one-time Sands’ “consultant,” who has maintained he is owed $60 million, plus about a decade’s worth of interest, for his help in getting the Sands into the insanely lucrative Macau gaming market. Awarded the $60 million plus interest in 2008, the verdict was overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court in 2010.
There is so much media interest in the retrial that all the affected media outlets pooled their resources for their own attorney, Don Campbell. Not as sexy an unknown as the illustrious Mr. Dershowitz, for sure, but on the case nonetheless. “This is a very, very important case from the public’s perspective, which we are seeking to protect,” Campbell said. “This is the new excuse du jour of Mr. Adelson of his seeking to impose limitations on the press.”
Lights, camera, action! Or, inaction. Stay tuned.