Ventura 'vindicated' after settlement of defamation lawsuit

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura speaks to reporters.
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura speaks to reporters at the offices of the Henson Efron law firm on December 4, 2017.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Jesse Ventura on Monday said he feels "vindicated" after settling a defamation lawsuit over the book "American Sniper" — an autobiography about author Chris Kyle's commando training and multiple tours of duty in Iraq.

The former Minnesota governor sued Kyle in 2012 over a passage that describes an alleged bar fight with a man Kyle later identified as Ventura. Kyle claimed Ventura demeaned Navy SEALs, leading Kyle to punch him, knocking him to the floor.

Ventura said he was at the bar that day, but claims he never got into a fight with Kyle.

A federal jury awarded the former governor $1.8 million in 2014, but an appeals court overturned the verdict, saying some statements by Ventura's attorney improperly influenced the jury.

Ventura said he can't comment on the terms of the settlement, but said he never would have sued if Kyle had only apologized, and Ventura "would have gotten nothing then."

Kyle was killed at a Texas gun range in 2013. Ventura took a lot of flak on social media for continuing the lawsuit after Kyle's death. Ventura has made a point of saying that Kyle's widow isn't contributing to the settlement. The money is coming from insurance and the publishing company.

An attorney for Kyle's estate referred interview requests to the publisher, HarperCollins. The publisher did not respond to a request for comment

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