What kind of despicable person sues a war hero because of something written in a book? The same kind that continues the lawsuit after the hero is tragically murdered and is viciously pursuing his widow.
Jesse Ventura served in the United States Navy in Vietnam but quickly began to tarnish that record even before he left the Navy. He began riding with the notorious motorcycle gang, the Mongols. According to Ventura, he was a full-patch member of the club and even third-in-command of his chapter.
When he left the Navy he returned to Minneapolis and attended college. He became a college wrestler and body builder and eventually entered pro wrestling. In September 1984 blood clots in his lungs ended his in-ring career. Several times after he left the ring, he returned for special appearances and to act as an announcer and referee. He also had an acting career for about 20 years, appearing in movies such as Predator Demolition Man.
Then he entered politics, winning the office of Mayor of Brooklyn Park Minnesota in 1990. In 1998, he ran for and became Governor of Minnesota. His political career was fairly short and largely unremarkable. As if being Governor was just a movie role that he hadn’t practiced enough, he was unpredictable and all over the place with his actions. Ventura even described himself as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”
Since leaving office he has continued to bully his way into public light, filing lawsuits, insulting politicians, refusing to stand for the National Anthem, and all sorts of other stunts unbecoming a former Navy man.
He has committed many questionable and unethical actions in his life, but he hit a new low the day he decided to sue Chris Kyle.
Although Ventura often claimed the title of Navy SEAL, records prove he was not. Chris Kyle actually held the title and earned every bit of respect the position demands. After serving as a SEAL and going through a rigorous selection process, Kyle was selected and trained as a sniper.
Kyle’s career as an American sniper was distinguished. He served through 4 deployments in Iraq and his marksmanship became renowned even among insurgents who nicknamed him “The Devil of Ramadi.”
With a $20,000 bounty on his head, Kyle’s nerves and patience for tracking his subjects earned him two awards of the Silver Star and five awards for the Bronze Star.
His claims of 160 kills cannot be confirmed but many believe he did hold that record number. After leaving the service, he continued his mission on behalf of America. Kyle co-launched a non-profit group, FITCO Cares Foundation, which supplies fitness equipment to war wounded veterans.
Kyle also retained his life-long passion for guns, founding Craft International, a security company that is marketed with the motto, “Despite what your momma told you, violence does solve problems.” He was an outspoken opponent of President Obama’s push to tighten gun controls.
To the horror of his family and America, Kyle’s life was cut short on February 2, 2013. He and a colleague, Chad Littlefield, were shot at a gun range outside of Fort Worth, Texas, by Eddie Ray Routh, an ex-Marine who had a long history of mental illness. Chris Kyle was 38 years old and left behind his wife and two children.
A year before his life was tragically taken; Jesse Ventura filed a defamation lawsuit against Chris Kyle. In Kyle’s book, American Sniper, he wrote about an alleged incident where he punched out a man in a bar because the man was criticizing and dishonoring the military. He never mentioned Ventura by name, but claimed he approached the man and asked him to tone down his voice because the families of SEAL personnel were present. The man allegedly said to Kyle that the SEALs “deserved to lose a few guys.” Kyle said he responded by punching the man.
While promoting his book, Kyle was called out by Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor. The lead off question was, “First of all, you say, you knocked Jesse Ventura to the floor with a punch. Now you don’t mention his name, but everyone knows who that is. Number one, that happened? You knocked him out?” To which Kyle replied, “Yeah. Well, I knocked him down.”
Ventura hotly contested the claims, saying that the incident never happened, hence the lawsuit. There were many people who supported Kyle’s version and one who came forward to support Ventura.
When Kyle was killed, a moral man might have dropped the lawsuit. Ventura simply substituted Taya Kyle, as executor of Chris Kyle’s estate, as the defendant.
The jury originally stated they could not come to a unanimous decision. Both parties agreed to allow a divided verdict and in a vote of 8 to 2, they awarded Ventura $1.8 million: $500,000 for defamation and $1,345,477.25 for unjust enrichment. Taya Kyle quickly appealed the verdict and on Monday the Kyle family finally received justice. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down the verdict in June and the U.S. Supreme Court rightly upheld that decision.
Ventura comments about the verdict were vile, “The appeal wasn’t overturned because Chris Kyle didn’t lie. He did lie — and that was proven in court. The appeal was overturned on a technicality. And the judges went against their rules [and] laws to do it. Politics.”
Perhaps Ventura should go after Bill O’Reilly since it was him that mentioned Ventura’s name, not Chris Kyle. Either way, Ventura got body slammed by justice.
We can only hope this time, he stays down.