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Jesse Ventura scores big against dead man in defamation lawsuit

Jesse Ventura complains to the referees during the third quarter of Game Two of the 2012 WNBA Finals
Jesse Ventura complains to the referees during the third quarter of Game Two of the 2012 WNBA FinalsPhoto by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Jesse Ventura scored big money in a defamation lawsuit against the estate of a man whom Ventura claimed fabricated a story about him in a memoir. The former professional wrestler turned controversial politician won a whopping $1.8 million against the estate of Chris Kyle, a former member of the Navy SEALs whose bestselling book "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History" contained an unflattering anecdote about the Minnesota governor.

Chris Kyle was murdered in 2012. His widow Tara is the executor of his estate.

On July 29, 2014, a jury awarded Ventura the large sum for defamation and "unjust enrichment." The decision was made based on a story in Kyle's memoir that told of meeting an unnamed celebrity at a bar frequented by Navy SEALs. According to The New York Times, the sniper turned bestselling author described the celebrity in most unflattering terms and claimed the man had spoken negatively against the SEALs. Kyle alleged that the celeb said, "the SEALs deserved 'to lose a few.'"

In addition, Kyle claimed that he punched Jesse Ventura at the bar. That's something that Ventura maintains never happened.

Although the "celebrity" mentioned in Chris Kyle's memoir "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History" was never identified by name in the book, Kyle later pointed the finger at Jesse Ventura during an interview. That's when Ventura says his career "came to a screeching halt."

Despite any bad press surrounding the book due to Jesse Ventura's lawsuit, which was filed in 2012, Clint Eastwood is making a movie based on the memoir, which presumably will not contain reference to the chapter in question, "Punching Out Scruff Face." Additionally, the book's publisher Harper Collins is reportedly being asked to delete the passage from the memoir, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Was Chris Kyle responsible for the downturn in Jesse Ventura's career, or was the former wrestler already past his prime? Comments are welcome.