Federal Appeals Court Tosses $1.8 Million Award For Jesse Ventura In Lawsuit Against Chris Kyle

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A federal appeals court has thrown out a $1.8 million judgment awarded to former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who was previously awarded the large sum of money because a prior ruling said the former professional wrestler was defamed by Chris Kyle in his book.

From CBS News:

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the jury’s 2014 award of $500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million for unjust enrichment against Kyle’s estate. Kyle, a former SEAL who was the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills, died in 2013.

The majority of the three-judge panel reversed the unjust-enrichment award, saying it fails as a matter of law. The majority also vacated the defamation award, but sent that portion of the case back to court for a new trial.

It probably didn’t help Ventura’s case that he was suing a widow. Ventura’s lawsuit was against Chris Kyle’s estate, which would be his wife Tara Kyle, who had two children by Chris.

In January of 2012, Ventura brought a lawsuit against Kyle, the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, because of his bestselling book American Sniper. The book alleged that in 2006 a man who he named as “Scruff Face” made offensive comments about the Navy SEALs at McP’s, a bar in Coronado, California. “Scruff Face” allegedly made a remark that the SEALs “deserve to lose a few” in Iraq. Kyle, a Navy SEAL, took exception to the negative comments and claimed that he knocked out “Scruff Face.”

While doing publicity for his book, Kyle appeared on The Opie And Anthony Show and revealed that “Scruff Face” was actually Jesse Ventura.

Even after Kyle was killed the following year, Ventura continued the lawsuit against Kyle’s estate. On February 2, 2013, Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range in Texas by Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran who had PTSD and Chris was attempting to mentor.

“I would have been a big-time loser had I not pursued the lawsuit, because … the whole story was fabricated,” Ventura told CBS This Morning in 2014. “I was accused of treason, which in the military is the death penalty.”

In 2015, Ventura said “he won” and “Chris Kyle was a liar.”

Ventura served as a member of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team and the SEALs during the Vietnam War era.


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