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The legal battle between Jesse Ventura and the estate of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle continued in Minnesota court this week.
At stake is Ventura’s $1.8 million award stemming from a defamation suit brought against Kyle’s estate for claims about Ventura in Kyle’s “American Sniper” book.
In an appeals court on Tuesday, the defense for Kyle’s estate sought a new trial or the award be dismissed. Their central argument is a comment made Ventura’s lead attorney, David Olsen, during closing arguments of the original trial.
The comment was that Kyle’s book publisher would be “on the hook” for any defamation monies, implying that Kyle’s estate would not have to pay, which would relieve the jury of guilt asking his widow to pay Ventura.
Attorneys for Kyle’s estate say they tried to object to Olsen’s statement after his closing argument and move for a mistrial. Now, they are seeking a new trial or the original decision to be tossed. The presiding judge gave Olsen more time to research legal grounds for making his comment.
Ventura appeared in court on Tuesday, then spoke to reporters outside of the court house. Ventura said he welcomes a second trial attempting to “clear his name.” He said in past interviews that he will move to Mexico if he does not receive damages because of the cost of the legal process, which he says has totaled $1.0 million.
The central issue is that Kyle claimed in his book that Ventura dogged then-president George Bush, which led to a fight at a bar. Ventura denied the incident took place, prompting the lawsuit in 2012 after the story was published.
Kyle, a fellow Navy SEAL, was shot and killed at a shooting range in 2013. The lawsuit was transferred from Kyle to his estate.
Tuesday’s happenings received plenty of news coverage. The story was picked up locally by the Star-Tribune, spread to the print edition of the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday, and was covered nationally by Fox News, among other outlets.