Jim Murren, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, sent a letter to all MGM employees on Friday to tell them that he wanted to explain why he has decided to sue the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and address the “misleading and truly awful” media reports that have been written about him.
“I know the way things have been portrayed has left many feeling confused, hurt and disappointed,” he wrote. “I am very sorry for that and I am grateful to have this opportunity to clarify. To be perfectly clear, MGM Resorts is not suing victims for damages or attempting to extract monetary payment from the victims in any way. The notion of such an act betrays everything we stand for at MGM Resorts,” Murren wrote.
Earlier in July, MGM Resorts filed lawsuits in eight different states against more than one thousand Las Vegas shooting victims and their family members. The purpose of the lawsuit, as claimed by MGM Resorts, was to prevent the casino conglomerate from being liable for the shooting that took place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and Las Vegas Village, which are both MGM owned properties. On October 1, 2017, police and FBI say alleged shooter Stephen Paddock opened fire from his 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay onto a crowd of thousands of concertgoers who were attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
Paddock, who has been deemed a “lone shooter” by disgraced Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Aaron Rouse, the Special Agent in Charge of Las Vegas FBI, killed 58 people and injured nearly 900 people.
MGM’s argument against liability is based on a 2002 federal law that limits liability for terrorist attacks.
Despite the fact that LVMPD, FBI, and Mandalay Bay have remained adamant in their claims that Paddock was a lone shooter who had no accomplices and that the mass shooting was not an act of terrorism, MGM’s lawsuit claims the Casino is not liable for Paddock’s actions, citing the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002, a federal law that was enacted after the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks, in which Muslim terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City. The federal law, which was passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the deadliest terror attack to ever take place on US soil, limits liability for terrorist attacks when anti-terrorism technologies have be deployed.
In order to use the defense of the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, MGM Resorts would be required to prove that the Las Vegas Shooting was an act of terrorism. However, on October 2, 2017, the day immediately following the Las Vegas shooting, Aaron Rouse, the Special Agent in Charge of the Las Vegas FBI declared that the shooting was not an act of terrorism after ISIS claimed responsibility and proclaimed Paddock as a soldier of Islam. “We have determined, to this point, no connection to an international terrorist group,” Rouse said.
In Murren’s letter to MGM employees, he referred to the Las Vegas shooting as an act of terrorism, which contradicts the official narrative of the FBI and LVMPD, both of whom have claimed that the Vegas shooting was not an act of terrorism. “As we all know, this despicable act of terror was committed by a lone gunman, Stephen Paddock, who entered Mandalay Bay with the evil intent to kill as many people as possible,” Murren said.
Murren’s letter not only refers to the shooting as an “act of terror”, but it also suggests that he is aware of a motive (to kill as many people as possible in an act of terrorism) despite claims made by the FBI and LVMPD that a motive is still unknown.
Towards the end of Murren’s letter, he argues that the lawsuits are necessary to prevent MGM employees from testifying about Paddock in a courtroom. “If these cases proceed, victims, which include MGM Resorts employees and families, first responders and witnesses would face the need to testify over and over again.”
It is evident from the phrasing of his letter that Murren does not want MGM employees and witnesses testifying against the Casino in a court room, which further proves that he is not acting in the interest of transparency.
It has been nearly nine months since the Las Vegas shooting, and the FBI, Sheriff Lombardo, and Mandalay Bay have all said that Paddock was a lone gunman. They have also stated that the shooting was not an act of terrorism, and that they have not been able to determine an official motive, which is problematic given that Attorney’s for MGM Resorts are now claiming that the mass shooting, which killed 58 people, qualifies as an act of terrorism.
While MGM claims to not be liable for the shooting, evidence that has come to light over the past 9 months suggest otherwise. In the days after the Las Vegas shooting, Las Vegas Casino mogul Steve Wynn slipped up during an interview with Fox News when he revealed that Paddock brought a stockpile of weapons up to his suite through the Service elevator at Mandalay Bay, which is not supposed to be used by anyone other than hotel employees, suggesting that the hotel did in fact aid Paddock in bringing the weapons used during the shooting up to his room.
More than 2,500 shooting victims and their loved ones have filed and threatened to file lawsuits against MGM Resorts. Murren claimed in his letter to employees that “MGM will continue to proceed with integrity and commitment to the ideas and core values which define [MGM].”
However, Murren failed to explain in his letter how suing victims of the deadliest mass shooting in US history demonstrates integrity.
Last week, several Las Vegas shooting victims held a press conference in California to speak out against the lawsuits.
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