Former Governor of Minnesota (and ex-Navy SEAL, pro wrestler, TV host, author and general badass political gadfly) Jesse Ventura is suing the estate of Chris Kyle (who wrote the 2012 bestseller American Sniper) for defamation. In the book Kyle claimed that he punched out Ventura after the latter publicly derided dead SEALs in a California bar popular with SEALs. The trial is ongoing in federal court in St. Paul, MN and needless to say there is conflicting testimony, reported here by TwinCities.com. In this excerpt we learn of the Governor’s loss of reputation and income:
Chuck Webber, an attorney for the Kyle estate, cross-examined Ventura for much of the morning. Webber raised many of Ventura’s own colorful statements in an effort to illustrate that the former professional wrestler and celebrity needed no help from Kyle in sullying his own name.
Those ranged from a news conference outside a courthouse in which Ventura declared he was seeking Mexican citizenship to escape the “Fascist States of America” to a book passage that described “an Army run by Christianist extremists” to another passage saying women had to expect some level of harassment on the street.
Ventura said controversy and offensiveness were in the eye of the beholder. It wasn’t up to him, he said, to say how other people reacted to him.
“You’re not aware of what your reputation is?” Webber asked, pressing Ventura to admit that he had a penchant for controversy.
“Is anyone aware of what their reputation is?” Ventura responded.
Webber named a number of witnesses who he said would testify that they saw or heard parts of Kyle’s story happen. Were they all wrong? he asked.
They were, Ventura said.
Did Ventura sue to get back at Kyle for an embarrassing but true story? Webber asked.
Ventura said he did not.
Webber also delved into whether the book had hurt Ventura’s earnings.
Tax returns showed Ventura made more than $13 million in the decade before “American Sniper’s” release. Much of that came from his contract for an MSNBC talk show in 2003-05, but Ventura took in $676,000 in 2011, the year before the book came out.
After Kyle’s autobiography was released, Ventura’s earnings dipped to $190,000 in 2012. Ventura said job offers, usually plentiful, “came to a screeching halt.” The third season of his TruTV series “Conspiracy Theory” was put on hold because of the story, he said, and the series eventually was canceled.
Webber asked if anyone told Ventura they wouldn’t hire him because of Kyle’s story.
“They never tell you why,” Ventura said.
Could he quantify how much money the story had cost him?
Ventura acknowledged he could not…
[read the full story at TwinCities.com]
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