In The News: Judge keeps exhibit sealed in Las Vegas Sands case

LAS VEGAS — A Nevada judge on Thursday denied an attempt to unseal a private investigator’s report in a wrongful termination case against casino company Las Vegas Sands Corp., Sands China Ltd. and the companies’ chairman Sheldon Adelson.

The ruling came after Guardian News & Media, the Campaign for Accountability and the union Unite Here argued that the public should see the exhibit that the groups say may tie the companies to organized crime in Asia.

The exhibit is part of the ongoing wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former Sands China CEO Steven Jacobs against the company and Adelson nearly five years ago.

Jacobs’ attorney Todd Bice has supported efforts to unseal the report.

Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez dismissed the motions without prejudice saying the law allows her to seal documents that include commercially sensitive material and gambling regulatory information.

The report was initially admitted to the court in a proceeding that decided Las Vegas had jurisdiction in the case. For that reason, Gonzalez maintained the exhibit should remain sealed because it wasn’t being used to argue the merits of the case.

Sands China’s attorney Randall Jones argued that the motions to unseal were being done to distort the truth and amounts to a politically motivated attack on Adelson.

“We don’t think there’s anything necessarily embarrassing or salacious,” Jones said.

He argued a decision shouldn’t be made until Nevada’s Supreme Court decides later this year on the company’s appeal regarding jurisdiction.

The Campaign for Accountability said in a motion filed last month that it wants to see the report because it might help determine if Adelson used money linked to overseas criminal activity for election donations.

The nonprofit’s director, Anne Weismann, said the group’s suspicions are “based on what we know about what the report was supposed to accomplish.” She said the report’s author, private investigator Steve Vickers, specialized in looking into organized crime activity by Chinese triads.

Gonzalez left open the possibility that the newspaper, advocacy group and union could try again to have the records unsealed when the case reaches trial.

Trial had been scheduled for October but could be delayed until the end of next year based on the estimated time of discovery procedures.

Attorneys for Las Vegas Sands, Sands China and Adelson told the judge they’ll need nine months to finish their work which could involve digging into Jacobs’ medical history and searching his Florida home.