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$1.8M 'American Sniper' Award Yanked From Ventura

Federal appeals court overturns judgment for ex-Minn. governor in Chris Kyle case
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2016 11:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ex-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura was set to collect $1.8 million from the estate of Chris Kyle, claiming the late Navy SEAL defamed him in his 2012 book American Sniper, but a federal appeals court nixed that 2014 judgment on Monday, the AP reports. In a 2-1 decision, the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals nullified Ventura's $1.35 million award for "unjust enrichment," though it did call for a new trial for the defamation part of the case, which netted Ventura $500,000, the Star Tribune reports. The court said due to improper cross-examination of witnesses and comments made by Ventura's lawyer during closing arguments, Kyle's estate didn't get a fair trial, per Reuters.

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The 2006 incident in question that Ventura balked at: Kyle's description in his book of a supposed altercation in which he punched Ventura in a California bar after Ventura goaded him by saying Navy SEALs "deserve to lose a few" in Iraq. Ventura, a former SEAL himself, says he never made that remark and that there was no punch. "I would have been a big-time loser had I not pursued the lawsuit, because … the whole story was fabricated," Ventura told CBS News in 2014. "I was accused of treason, which in the military is the death penalty." (Meanwhile, a report says Kyle exaggerated his war record.)

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