Former pro wrestler, Minnesota governor, Vladimir Putin-backed Russian TV star, and Donald Trump ally Jesse Ventura obtained a settlement in his defamation lawsuit against Harper Collins for comments made by Chris Kyle in his autobiography, American Sniper. Kyle, the deadliest sniper in the history of the U.S. military who passed away in 2013, said he punched Ventura out in a bar. Ventura originally won a defamation lawsuit for $1.8 million in 2014, but that verdict was overturned. The settlement was reached before the case headed back to court.
Venture isn't saying how much he won in the settlement, but he did say that the money didn't come from Kyle's widow. "All I'll say is my settlement is now in the bank," Ventura said. "That speaks and tells you everything else about it."
He did, however, take a page out of his friend Donald Trump's book by attacking a deceased military veteran, giving Kyle a derogatory nickname, "American Liar," and saying of Kyle's story, "This was fake news, people. And this was fake news at its finest. Because the whole thing is fake."
After leaving an early career in the U.S. military, Ventura became one of pro wrestling's biggest stars in the 1970s and early 1980s. He's starred in movies like Predator, The Running Man, and Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe, and left wrestling and Hollywood for a career in politics, becoming Governor of Minnesota in 1998. While active in politics, Ventura described himself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and ran on the Reform Party ticket. Around the turn of the century, Ventura was arguably at the peak of his popularity, and it's in 2004 that Ventura returned to WWE and interviewed a young(er) Donald Trump at WrestleMania XX.
"If I were to get back into politics, could I expect your moral and financial support?" Ventura asked Trump.
"100%," the future President of the United States replied without hesitation. "You know that. 100%."
"You know what? I think we might need a wrestler in the White House…" Ventura told the crowd to massive applause.
Jesse Ventura never did make that White House bid that Donald Trump offered to fund in its entirety, but another WWE Hall-of-Famer did: Trump himself, whose pro wrestling career stretches back to WrestleMania 4 and 5, which he hosted at his Atlantic City Trump Plaza venue, and includes participation in one of the main events of WrestleMania 22. Trump has rewarded his pro wrestling colleagues before, naming former WWE CEO Linda McMahon as head of the Small Business Administration.
Ventura went on to become a conspiracy theory fanatic and 911 Truther. Most recently, he became the host of a new television show espousing conspiracy theory beliefs on Russian state-backed television network RT, after claiming he can no longer get a job in America due to his feud with Kyle, which he says has caused the American media to ostracize him.
"I can't get a job in the U.S.," Ventura explained in June, noting that he has lost his benefits from the Screen Actors Guild due to inactivity. "No one will touch me. My United States union throws me in the dirt and who comes to the rescue? Russia."
Ventura said that Russian President Vladimir Putin himself assured Ventura that his show would not be censored on RT.