Adelson Trial Under Way

The trial in the lawsuit of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson over the firing of former Sands China CEO Steven Jacobs (l.) started with threats of contempt charges by the judge.

The first day of the trial in former Sand CEO Steven Jacobs’ lawsuit against Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson was marked by so many objections from Adelson’s attorneys that Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez threatened to hold the lawyers in contempt.

Jacobs sued after he was fired in 2010 for refusing what he called “outrageous” demands from Adelson for “secret investigations” into the “business and financial affairs of high-ranking members of the Macau government.” According to LVS, Jacobs wanted to find damaging information to use as leverage should the government try to implement regulations that would harm Sands China.

According to a report by Courthouse News Service, Adelson’s attorneys called Jacobs an “extortionist” at the hearing. The first witness was retired LVS COO Michael Leven, who defended holding the trial in Las Vegas over objections from Jacobs that it should be held in Macau. Gonzalez threatened contempt after Sands attorneys objected repeatedly to Leven’s questioning by Jacobs attorney Todd Bice.

LVS attorney J. Randall Jones argued against inclusion of many items of evidence submitted by the plaintiff, including emails he said were private, included solely to embarrass the defendant. “We believe Mr. Jacobs is an extortionists,” he said. “This is a matter of privacy.” Bice, countered, “We don’t have secret chambers in the United States… Simply being embarrassed over what you are doing in another country” is not ground to seal evidence,” he added.

Adelson, the 81-year-old billionaire founder and chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp., is among the casino operator’s top executives listed as witnesses for the trial.

 Adelson denies allegations he ordered secret investigations into the business and financial affairs of government officials, as well as Jacobs’ claim that he personally approved a strategy condoning prostitution at the Macau casinos. Sands has said in court filings that Jacobs was dismissed for working on unauthorized deals and violating company policy.