Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in 'American Sniper' lawsuit

ST. PAUL, Minn.  — A jury awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the estate of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle. 
On the sixth day of deliberations, the federal jury decided that the author of the 2012 best-selling book defamed Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Kyle, regarded as the deadliest military sniper in U.S. history, wrote that he decked a man whom he later identified as Ventura after the man allegedly said the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.”
Ventura testified that Kyle fabricated the passage about punching him. Kyle said in testimony videotaped before his death last year that his story was accurate.
Legal experts had said Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, had to clear a high legal bar to win, since as a public figure he had to prove actual malice. According to the jury instructions, Ventura had to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that Kyle either knew or believed what he wrote was untrue, or that he harbored serious doubts about its truth.
Neither Ventura nor Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, who is the executor of his estate, were on hand for the verdict.
Ventura didn’t immediately return a message left at his Minneapolis-area home. But his attorney, David Bradley Olsen, said Ventura felt there were “no real winners in this trial.”
“He’s certainly grateful for the verdict but his reputation with an entire generation of young SEALs may never be repaired,” Olsen said, adding, “It is a victory in the sense that the jury did tell the world that Chris Kyle’ story is a lie and was a fabrication.”

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