Jury awards Ventura $1.8M for defamation

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 author of the 2012 best-selling book defamed Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Kyle, regarded as the deadliest military sniper in U.S. history, 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, a former Navy SEAL, had to clear a high legal bar to win, since as a public figure he had to prove actual malice.