Chris Kyle's widow to appeal $1.8M jury verdict for Jesse Ventura

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, center, arrives at court with his wife, Terry, and others, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, in St. Paul, Minn.


By RANDY FURST | (Minneapolis) Star Tribune (TNS) | Published: December 23, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (Tribune Content Agency) — The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has been asked to overturn the verdict in the defamation case of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who was awarded $1.8 million in August by a jury following a trial in U.S. District Court in St. Paul.

A notice of the appeal was filed with the circuit court Tuesday morning by Taya Kyle, executor of the estate of the late Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling memoir “American Sniper,” which contains a subchapter about an incident in a California bar involving Ventura that the jury decided never happened.

Taya Kyle is Chris Kyle’s widow. Chris Kyle was a member of the Navy SEALs and a sniper in the Iraq War who was killed in an unrelated incident in 2012 after the book was published.

The book claimed that Kyle confronted a man he called “Scruff Face,” later identified as Ventura, in a bar where a wake for a SEAL who was killed in Iraq was taking place. Kyle wrote that Ventura criticized the war and President George W. Bush and said that the SEALs “deserved to lose a few.” Kyle wrote that he punched Ventura and knocked him down.

Taya Kyle’s attorneys produced witnesses who backed up much of the story, but their accounts differed. Ventura, a former member of an underwater demolition team attached to the SEALs, admitted he was at the bar but denied he made the remarks or that he was ever punched. He produced witnesses to support his position.

As is typical of notices of appeal, there were no details as to what Taya Kyle’s attorneys will argue before the appeals court. Briefs will be submitted by both sides in the case, there may be oral arguments, and it will be many months before the appeals courts will rule.

Chris Kyle’s book has been turned into a movie, also called “American Sniper,” which will begin showing on Christmas Day. The film does not contain any reference to the Ventura bar fight, according to those who have seen it.

©2014 (Minneapolis) Star Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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