MINNEAPOLIS – A federal appeals court on Monday threw out $1.8 million in damages awarded to former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who said he was defamed by the late author Chris Kyle in the bestselling book “American Sniper.”
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also sent a portion of the case — Ventura’s defamation claim — back to the district court for a new trial, saying Ventura’s attorneys made improper remarks and the trial court “clearly abused its discretion in denying a new trial.”
Messages left with Ventura, his publicist and his attorney were not immediately returned Monday. An attorney for Kyle’s estate had no comment and referred questions to publisher HarperCollins, which said it was reviewing the opinion and had no comment at this time.
Kyle is a former SEAL regarded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills. In his book “American Sniper,” he wrote a subchapter called “Punching Out Scruff Face” in which he describes decking Ventura at a California bar in 2006 after Ventura made offensive comments about SEALs, including that the SEALs “deserve to lose a few” in Iraq.