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Federal court throws out $1.8M award to Jesse Ventura in ‘American Sniper’ case

MINNEAPOLIS — A federal appeals court has thrown out a $1.8 million judgment awarded to former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who says he was defamed in the late author Chris Kyle’s bestselling book “American Sniper.”

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected the jury’s 2014 award of $500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million for unjust enrichment against Kyle’s estate.

The court reversed the unjust-enrichment award, saying it fails as a matter of law. It also vacated the defamation award, but ordered a new trial for that portion of the case.

Kyle, a Navy SEAL and the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, claimed to have punched Ventura at a California bar in 2006 after Ventura said the SEALs “deserve to lose a few” in Iraq.

Ventura, a former SEAL, testified he never made the comments and that the altercation never happened.

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