After six days of deliberations, a federal jury decided July 29 that the best selling book “American Sniper” by Chris Kyle did in fact defame Jesse Ventura, the Associated Press reports. The jury awarded Ventura $1.8 million in damages.
In his autobiography, Kyle wrote that he had punched a man, later identified as Ventura, in the face in 2006 for his critical statements about the war in Iraq and saying the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.”
Ventura, however, denied the incident ever took place, adding the defamation of character has injured his career.
Ventura, who is a former Navy SEAL, governor of Minnesota and pro-wrassler, first levied the lawsuit against the self-proclaimed deadliest sniper in U.S. history in 2012. After Kyle was murdered in 2013, Ventura re-filed against Kyle’s widowed wife, Taya.
The trial kicked off at the beginning of July and closed last week. Legal experts said Ventura had to clear a high legal bar to win a defamation case, since he had to prove actual malice.
After closing, the judge gave the jury 22 pages of instructions to follow in order to come to a verdict. At first the judge said the verdict had to be unanimous, but attorneys for both sides agreed that they would allow a verdict if only eight of the 10 agreed.