Jesse Ventura is probably the only ex-Navy seal who would launch a defamation suit against the estate of another former seal who was a war hero, over a incident mentioned in the hero’s book. The hero is Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. Military History, and the incident related in his book American sniper doesn’t even mention the ex-Minn. Gov/Professional Conspiracy theorist/Scumbag. As reported in the NY Times.
Although verdicts in such cases are customarily unanimous, both sides agree to the split verdict of 8 to 2, which was reached after more than a week of deliberations. Jurors awarded Mr. Ventura $500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million for what was termed the author’s unjust enrichment.
In effect a guy who doesn’t need the cash is going to take $1.8 million from a Navy-seal’s widow.
Mr. Ventura, 63, had sued the estate of Chris Kyle, the former member of the SEALs, saying that his book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” included passages about Mr. Ventura that were false and defamatory.
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(…)During two weeks of testimony in a federal courtroom in St. Paul, jurors heard a videotaped deposition from Mr. Kyle, who defended his writings as accurate. The jurors were presented an array of statements Mr. Ventura made on topics like religion and war over many years, and defense lawyers suggested that his reputation was already deeply complicated. Most of all, the jurors heard from witnesses with varying memories of one evening in a California bar in 2006 – the scene from the book that Mr. Ventura contended was false.
Mr. Ventura, who served years ago on a Navy underwater demolition team, acknowledged that he was inside the bar – a place frequented by special Navy units like the SEALs – on the night Mr. Kyle described in his book. But Mr. Ventura vehemently denied claims in the book that he had made derogatory statements about fellow members of the military while in the bar, or had said at one point during the evening that the SEALs deserved “to lose a few.”
In his deposition, Mr. Kyle said Mr. Ventura had indeed made such comments, and that Mr. Kyle had ended the conversation by punching Mr. Ventura as he described in the book. Several witnesses for Mr. Kyle said that they had overheard the former governor’s negative comments or had seen him on the ground following an altercation, while witnesses for Mr. Ventura said they saw no such confrontation that night.
Mr. Ventura was not named in the book, which came out in 2012. The chapter on the bar scene referred to a celebrity named “Scruff Face.” But Mr. Kyle said during media interviews after the book’s release that he was referring to Mr. Ventura.
Chris Kyle died last year after being shot by a disturbed veteran who he was trying to help.
Mr. Ventura said his reputation among military members had been harmed and that his income had been affected as entertainment offers dropped off after the release of the book. Jurors were shown a graph of Mr. Ventura and his wife’s gross income, which ranged from more than $3 million some years to less than $200,000 in 2012.
If Ventura thinks is reputation among military members was harmed before, wait until the news filters out that he is taking almost $2 million dollars from the widow of a war hero.
I wish Mr. Ventura and his family no harm, but I pray that he does not receive one “smidgen” of joy from that money.