View Full Version : Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in defamation case against estate of 'American Sniper

Measure Man
07-29-2014, 08:46 PM
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 2012 best-selling book defamed Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Kyle 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 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.

The jury told the judge Monday that it didn’t believe it could reach a unanimous verdict, but the judge instructed them to continue. On Tuesday, attorneys for both sides agreed that the verdict did not need to be unanimous and would allow a verdict if only eight of 10 jurors agreed.

After finding in favor of Ventura, the jury was also tasked with awarding damages for any harm to his reputation, humiliation and embarrassment. Jurors had to find that Ventura suffered an economic loss as a direct result of Kyle’s statements, or that Kyle used Ventura to profit unjustly.

Neither Ventura nor Chris Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, were in the courtroom for the verdict. Chris Kyle was slain at a Texas gun range last year, so his widow is executor of his estate with control over proceeds from book royalties and movie rights.

I don't know who is telling the truth or who isn't...the statements do not sound, to me, like stuff Ventura would say, but I don't know the guy...

I found the bolded para above interesting...and wondering why the defendant would ever agree to such a thing? As the defendant, the only good thing that can come out of the trial is that you don't have to pay any damages...if the jury can not reach a verdict...you don't have to pay any damages.

Why would they agree to let a verdict be reached with less agreement? Unless they felt strongly that they were going to win, so they could put it behind them...just seems like an incredible risk to run.

The only other thing is if they didn't care about losing, they just needed to get it behind them...but again, I would think you'd settle then instead of risking a jury verdict.

07-29-2014, 09:00 PM
Unless, of course, his wife, the estate executor, thinks the ensuing publicity will increase book sales and profits.

If you stand to make more by paying some up front . . ..

Or, maybe, as the executor, she knows the estate is already basically broke, and she has nothing to lose, since once the estate is gone, there's nothing more to get?

07-30-2014, 02:10 AM
I would compare Ventura to a sack of dog sh!t, but I have too much respect for dog sh!t.

07-30-2014, 12:13 PM
I wonder if he filed his lawsuit after Kyle was killed, since then there would be no testimony from the defendant?
How many feather boas can one buy with $1.8M???

07-30-2014, 01:19 PM
It sucks that she might have to write this check. She will probably be fine after she gets her cut of the Clint Eastwood directed film about their life.

Jesse V is going to become a lonely dude after this. 1.8 mil won't go as far you he hopes after his lawyer get his cut, and then the taxman gets his.


07-30-2014, 02:26 PM
Poor Jesse V. Dont you just feel sorry for the guy?


07-31-2014, 02:04 AM
I wonder if he filed his lawsuit after Kyle was killed, since then there would be no testimony from the defendant?
How many feather boas can one buy with $1.8M???

The news this AM was discussing this, the lawsuit was filed before Kyle was killed and he actually testified (had filed) a video deposition that was used as part of the case.

I did find it a bit off that the coverage kind of demonized Ventura ... since (for all I know) the Kyle guy was blowing a lot of smoke and making the story up ... who knows ... but the insinuations were that even IF Ventura was right he should not have sued because Kyle is/was a hero.

If Ventura did this to 'restore' his reputation, that seems to be pretty damaged by him filing the lawsuit. I suppose as a show of goodwill he could donate the money back to the Wounded Warrior Fund or to assist with aid to vets with PTSD (something Kyle himself was involved in prior to his death.)