MINNEAPOLIS — Former governor Jesse Ventura says his recent defamation lawsuit was never about the money. Instead, he claims it was about restoring his reputation.
"The gentleman accused me of treason," said Ventura in a video statement posted online Tuesday. "Being ex-military… treason is a very serious crime."
Ventura is referring to claims made by author Chris Kyle in his best-selling book American Sniper.
Kyle claimed he punched Ventura outside of a California bar in 2006 after the former governor trash-talked the war in Iraq and Navy SEALS.
Ventura filed a defamation lawsuit shortly after the book's publication in 2012 claiming the incident never happened. He won the case in a split decision last week and was awarded $1.8 million.
"He would not do one thing to restore my reputation and would not admit that he made the story up," says Ventura, who claims he tried to settle the case with a public apology. "The only thing they would offer me is money. So if I wanted strictly money, I could have settled right there. I could have settled right there for money, but I wanted and sought the truth. That's why it had to go to court."
Ventura claims he tried to settle again after Kyle's untimely death one year into the lawsuit, but Kyle's estate, led by his widow, would still not admit the story was false.
"You know, I have an entire generation of young SEALS now that hate me, and I didn't do anything," says Ventura. "I am a victim here."