“For those of you who are in shock and speechless as I have been today… Rest assured… When it comes to my family, honor and standing up for what is right… As my dear friends Marcus and Melanie Luttrell say… “I AM NEVER OUT OF THE FIGHT!” – Taya Kyle, wife of slain sniper Chris Kyle
After deliberating for six days, a jury in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn., informed presiding Judge Richard Kyle of their 8-2 verdict: Jesse Ventura “had been defamed by late Navy SEAL-turned-author Chris Kyle and awarded him more than $1.8 million” for supposed loss of income and damage to his reputation. In an interview, Ventura said, “I am overjoyed that my reputation was restored which is what this whole lawsuit is all about.”
This all began when Chris Kyle wrote in his book, American Sniper, about an incident with an unnamed individual. In an interview with Bill O’Reilly (January, 2012) on this top-rated TV news show, The O’Reilly Factor, Kyle explained the story: “I knocked him (Ventura) down.” After O’Reilly asked why, Kyle explained they were at a wake for Medal of Honor recipient Michael Mansoor in a SEAL bar in Coronado, Calif. During the vigil, Ventura badmouthed the war, President Bush and America. Kyle asked Ventura to quiet down because he did not want to upset the family of deceased. However, after Ventura said, “y’all deserved to lose a few guys,” As he said in his book, “Being level-headed and calm can last only so long. I laid him out.”
In an interview on The Alex Jones Show, Ventura responded, “I just want to tell you unequivocally, this event did not happen. And I can’t speak to anything else this person would say because I don’t know him. To my knowledge I’ve never ever even met him.” Later, witnesses confirmed Kyle’s sworn videotaped testimony. Regardless, Ventura filed the lawsuit against Chris Kyle.
However, after the death of Chris Kyle, Ventura changed the defendant in his lawsuit to Kyle’s estate and his widow, Taya, claiming loss of income after publication of Chris’ book.
Jesse Ventura (ne: James George Janos), not a Navy SEAL but a graduate of the Navy Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUDS), Vietnam-era veteran, famous WWE wrestler, actor, former governor of Minnesota, and even a 911 conspiracy theorist, is certainly a larger-than-life, controversial public figure. Indeed, during the trial, the attorneys for Taya Kyle presented evidence that Ventura said he had referred to the U.S. as the “Fascist States of America” and had said, “I will never stand for a national anthem again” and “I will turn my back and raise a fist the same way Tommy Smith and John Carlos did in the ’68 Olympics, Jesse Ventura will do that today.”
Needless to say, veterans from around the country voiced their dissatisfaction with the verdict. Distinguished Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell (of Lone Survivor fame, both the book and the movie) posted several insulting memes about Ventura on his Facebook page. And one sailor posted, “Love and respect our troops. Past, present, and future. But occasionally, you get reminded that some who’ve served never got the first principle of Military service: Honor.”
Bernie Goldberg, an expert on media affairs, told Bill O’Reilly on his July 31, 2014 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, “From a public relations point of view, Ventura should’ve walked out of the courtroom with his victory and, in front of all those cameras, and say, “I did this because I wanted to clear my name but for the money…I’m giving that to the widow of the Navy SEAL because she needs it to raise her family””.
Yes, Jesse, most veterans would agree that would have been the honorable thing for you to do.
There is still the possibility that Texan Mrs. Kyle will contest the verdict in Ventura’s lawsuit. After all, who could possibly have expected a different verdict in a lawsuit filed in the same state as its former governor. But a reminder is in order for Mr. Ventura: “Expect a different result here in Texas!”
Note: Forged Clothing has created a special clothing design to honor Chris Kyle. The proceeds will contribute towards their offer to “cover a majority share of the preposterous settlement” to Taya Kyle and her children. As they say on their website, “You will not only have something cool to wear, but you will also be coming to the aid of the Kyle family.” This campaign will end at Midnight on August 8th, 2014.