MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Following the conclusion of the “American Sniper” defamation case, former Gov. Jesse Ventura called a news conference Monday where he railed against the “fake news” media, the court system and late author Chris Kyle, whom he repeatedly referred to as the “American Liar.”
Ventura and the estate of the Iraq War veteran recently agreed to dismiss the former governor’s defamation case. When asked Monday about the conditions of the agreement, all Ventura would say was: “My apology is in the bank.”
The one-term governor said he called the afternoon news conference to bring closure to the five-year legal battle that he says ruined his reputation among veterans.
“I didn’t start this,” Ventura said. “He wrote the lie. I didn’t even know who he was prior to this.”
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Ventura sued the author’s estate after Kyle wrote in his bestselling memoir that he punched out a man – later identified as Ventura – in a bar. Ventura, who is a Vietnam War veteran, maintained that it never happened.
In 2014, a federal jury in Minnesota awarded Ventura $1.8 million in the case, but that verdict was later overturned on appeal.
“The jury said I was right, the judge who tried the case agreed,” Ventura said. “You have two judges who overturned it who never heard a shred of evidence…that’s what’s wrong with our system.”
In the news conference, Ventura let reporters know his opinion of the media, using the “fake news” term popularized by President Donald Trump. Ventura accused media companies of working to get his verdict overturned.
“This was fake news at its finest,” he said. “I was convicted before I even had my day in court.”