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Split jury awards Ventura $1.8M in SEAL lawsuit

ST. PAUL -- A split federal jury awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in his case against the estate of an author who claimed they were in a bar fight.

Attorneys from Ventura and the author's estate agreed to accept the 8-2 jury decision early this afternoon. Jurors on Monday told the judge they did not think they could reach a unanimous agreement.

Ventura sued former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who claimed in his book "American Sniper" that he hit Ventura in a California bar. Ventura denied that and claimed the book reference made it harder for him to land jobs.

Kyle died in 2013, and Ventura continued his case against the author's widow.

Jurors entered their second week of deliberation this morning.

It is a legal rarity that attorneys agree to accept a split verdict.

The $1.8 million was divided between $1.3 million for unjust enrichment on Kyle's part and $500,000 for defaming Ventura.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.