Jesse Ventura Wins Defamation Lawsuit Against Late 'American Sniper' Chris Kyle
Jesse Ventura, the former pro wrestler and ex-Governor of Minnesota, won his defamation lawsuit against the late Navy Seal and author Chris Kyle.
Jesse Ventura Wins Defamation Case
Ventura's case against Kyle ended in a split 8 to 2 verdict in which the jurors awarded him $500,000 for defamation and an additional $1.3 million for the “author’s unjust enrichment,” according to The New York Times.
Throughout the trial, Ventura maintained that Kyle’s bestseller American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History contained an untrue and damaging story about him. In the book, Kyle writes about a man he dubbed “Scruff Face,” who disparaged Navy Seals, and consequently received a punch to the face from Kyle that knocked the former wrestler to the ground.
According to Ventura, he neither made any such remarks, nor did Kyle ever physically assault him. In the trial, the burden of proof was on Ventura, who had to show that Kyle knew the story was false when he included it in his book and that he revealed “Scruff Face” to be Ventura with malicious intent.
Ventura first filed his defamation suit in 2012. However, Kyle was killed in February 2013 along with a friend at a gun range by an Iraq War veteran they were trying to help deal with crippling PTSD. As a result of Kyle’s tragic death, his surviving wife Taya Kyle became the defendant of his estate.
Ventura has stated that he felt that he had to move forward with his lawsuit in order to clear his name, as Kyle never retracted the story when he was alive. Ventura testified during court, “I was handcuffed.”