Judge upholds $1.8M award to Jesse Ventura in defamation case against 'American Sniper' author

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — A judge has rejected a request from the widow of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle to order a new trial or toss a jury's verdict in favor of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Ventura was awarded $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit that alleged Kyle made up claims in his book about punching Ventura after he made offensive comments about Navy SEALS at a California bar in 2006.

Ventura says it never happened. Both men are former SEALs.

The lawsuit was allowed to continue after Kyle, considered the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, died last year.

Attorneys for his widow, Taya Kyle, say laws and trial evidence didn't support the jury's award. But the federal judge who presided over the trial ruled Wednesday that "substantial evidence" supported the verdict.

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