MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A federal appeals court on Monday threw out the $1.8 million defamation verdict awarded to former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura.
Ventura said he was defamed by the late author Chris Kyle in the best-selling book, “American Sniper.”READ MORE: MN Rep. Ilhan Omar Visits Afghan Evacuees At Fort McCoy Calling It 'Uplifting' And 'Emotional'
A Minnesota jury awarded Ventura $500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million more for “unjust enrichment.” The Appeals Court said Ventura’s lawyers wrongly told the jury damage awards would be paid by insurance companies — not by Kyle’s widow, Taya.
“You are talking about a multi-millionaire wife!” Ventura told reporters in October 2015. “And she’s not going to pay a cent anyway! The insurance company’s got it from top to bottom.”
Ventura sued Kyle’s estate because his memoir “American Sniper” claimed Kyle punched Ventura in a California bar after Ventura made offensive comments about Navy Seals, an incident the former Governor denied.
Ventura said the false story propelled “American Sniper” to the best-seller list. And later into a Hollywood movie, which did not include the incident.READ MORE: Man Dies In Lake Street Shooting
The former governor told reporters last year the bad publicity ruined his reputation and dried up any job prospects.
“So don’t tell me I haven’t suffered. I’ve suffered a great deal from this lie,” he said.
The Appeals Court ruled that comments by Ventura’s lawyers “prevented Kyle from receiving a fair trial.”
The case now goes back to U.S. District Court, where the former Governor must decide whether he wants to re-litigate the case in a second trial. Ventura and his lawyers did not return our calls for comment.MORE NEWS: Minnesota Families Soak Up Warm Weather With Fall Festivities
A spokeswoman for Harper Collins, the publisher of “American Sniper,” said the company is reviewing the court opinion and declined comment.