MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura says he feels "vindicated" after reaching a settlement with the estate of the late "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle, blaming a popular punching bag in the "mainstream media" for an earlier dismissal of the defamation case.
The five-year long lawsuit stems from a passage in Kyle's book in which he alleges he the two were involved in a bar fight, though Ventura maintains the incident never took place.
A federal jury in Minnesota awarded Ventura $1.8 million in 2014, but that verdict was overturned on appeal. While Ventura initially said he'd seek a new trial, there were signs in November that a settlement was forthcoming. Court documents filed Friday show the parties agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning Ventura cannot sue again on the same claim.
Though the settlement amount is private, Ventura said at a press conference Monday that he could "smile" at the sum currently sitting in his bank account--though no amount of money could bring back his damaged reputation.
"It got destroyed the the point where it will never fully be restored," he said. "But what this does is it lifts the yoke off my back to where I can get back into politics--I've been vindicated."
He continued on to say he had a meeting with former Reps. Ron Paul, R-Kentucky, and Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, to discuss the former wrestler and provocateur's return to the political stage, among other things.
"I was just out in Aspen, for a meeting of the three biggest--how should I say it? Revolutionaries. We met out there together in one room. One Republican, one Democrat, and me--the ultimate independent," Ventura said. "If I do get back into politics Dennis will definitely figure in. I'm not saying I am, though."
In typical Jesse Ventura style, however, he would not elaborate--pointing reporters to his publicist if they wanted to discuss anything other than his lawsuit against Kyle's estate.
As for what the future holds for the former Governor, he says he simply plans to continue on in his current role hosting political show "The World According to Jesse" on Russian state-sponsored television channel RT, and is glad to put the five-year lawsuit behind him.
"I can smile again," he said. "The settlement is confidential but I can smile."