The United States Supreme Court Has Refused to Hear Jesse “The Body” Ventura’s Appeal to Reinstate the $1.8 Million Judgement Against the Chris Kyle Estate
St. Paul, MN – Former Minnesota Governor and Navy Seal Jesse Ventura has lost his appeal for the reinstatement of a $1.8 million verdict against “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle’s estate. Kyle, former SEAL who was killed by a mentally ill veteran in 2013, was the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills.
In July of 2014, a Minnesota jury awarded Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in damages after Ventura sued for defamation, accusing Navy Seal Chris Kyle of defaming him in Kyle’s blockbuster “American Sniper” book. In the book, Kyle described punching out a celebrity in a bar, but never identified Ventura as the “celebrity” in question. CNN reported:
In “American Sniper,” Kyle claimed that “Scruff Face” made remarks he found offensive at a gathering of Navy SEALs in 2006 at McP’s, a bar in Coronado, California, following the funeral of a SEAL killed in combat. According to Kyle’s account, he “approached Scruff and asked him to ‘cool it.'” “Scruff,” Kyle claims, responded by saying, “You deserve to lose a few” and threw a punch at him. The account ends with Kyle claiming he “laid him out. Tables flew. Stuff happened. Scruff Face ended up on the floor.”
Ventura claims Kyle “fabricated the entire interaction” and testified that while he was in fact at the bar that night, he “had a normal evening without any verbal or physical altercation.”
The Minnesota jury awarded Ventura $1.35 million for unjust enrichment and an additional $500,000 for defamation.
In a victory for Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, the 8th US Circuit of Appeals court overturned the Minnesota court decision in June 2016. The three panel court unanimously agreed to throw out the $1.35 million unjust enrichment judgement and voted 2-1 to overturn the $500,000 defamation reward to Ventura.
Ventura appealed to the US Supreme Court to have the $1.8 million reinstated. The SCOTUS refused to hear the case, thus upholding the previous decision by the 8th US Circuit court’s decision.