Court vacates $1.8M Ventura award in ‘American Sniper’ case

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STEPHENVILLE, TX - FEBRUARY 11: An image of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle on Easter day hiding Easter eggs is shown on a monitor during the capital murder trial of former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at the Erath County Donald R. Jones Justice Center February 11, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. February 11, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. Eddie Ray Routh, 27, of Lancaster, Texas is charged with the 2013 deaths of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (Photo by Tom Fox - Pool/Getty Images)

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.