Appeals court snatches Jesse Ventura’s $1.8 M award against ‘American Sniper’ out from under him

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A federal appeals court vacated the $1.8 million judgment awarded in 2014 to former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in his defamation case brought against the estate of the late former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

Ventura brought the lawsuit alleging that he had been defamed by Kyle in his bestselling book, “American Sniper.” Kyle, who was killed in 2013, was the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills, Fox News reported.

Two members a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected outright the jury’s $1.3 million unjust enrichment award, saying it fails as a matter of law.

They also vacated the $500,000 award for defamation and remanded it back to the trial court for a new trial.

Fox News reported:

Kyle claimed in a subchapter called “Punching Out Scruff Face,” to have decked a man, whom he later identified as Ventura, during a fallen SEAL’s wake at a California bar in 2006. He wrote that “Scruff Face” had made offensive comments about the elite force, including a remark that the SEALs “deserve to lose a few” in Iraq.

Ventura, a former Underwater Demolition Teams/SEAL member and ex-pro wrestler, testified at trial that Kyle’s story was a fabrication. Ventura said he never made the comments and that the altercation never happened. He said the book ruined his reputation in the tight-knit SEAL community.


The lawsuit was filed before Kyle was killed at a shooting range by a troubled vet he had befriended. Before his death, however, Kyle testified at a video deposition that everything he’d said in the book was accurate.

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