Experts Say Free Speech At Stake in ‘American Sniper’ Appeal
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Legal experts say free speech issues will be at stake in an appeals court's consideration of the dispute between former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.
Ventura was awarded $1.8 million last year for a passage in Kyle's book that he said was made up. Kyle described punching out a man, later identified as Ventura, whom he said made offensive remarks about Navy SEALs in a California bar.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday.
First Amendment scholars say the judge improperly instructed jurors on the "actual malice" definition that holds public figures to a higher standard in proving defamation. Several media groups also say Ventura being awarded a share of the book's profits sets a dangerous precedent.