On June 13, the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a jury’s decision to award Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in damages following a 2014 defamation case between Ventura and the estate of Chris Kyle, reports the Associated Press.
The late Kyle was a former Navy SEAL and regarded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history.
In his book, “American Sniper,” Kyle described a fight between himself and Ventura at a California bar in 2006, and accused the former Minnesota governor of making offensive comments about Navy SEALs, including a line about how they "deserve to lose a few" in Iraq.
Kyle, who was killed by a troubled fellow veteran on a shooting range in 2013, gave sworn videotaped testimony before his death that the story was true.
Ventura, a Navy veteran and former SEAL himself, testified that the altercation never happened and that the chapter ruined his reputation among the tight-knit community, when he sued for defamation in 2014.
A jury awarded Ventura $500,000 for defamation and $1.3 million for unjust enrichment. Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle appealed, asking that the verdict be thrown out and a new trial ordered on First Amendment grounds.
During the recent ruling, a three-judge panel unanimously reversed the unjust enrichment award, saying the theory of unjust enrichment did not apply in this case. For unjust enrichment to apply, Ventura would have had to establish that he had at a “preexisting contractual or quasi-contractual relationship with Kyle,” reports the Star Tribune.
In a 2-1 decision, the judges also reversed the $500,000 defamation award, and remanded the case to the district court for a new defamation trial.
Two of the three judges found Ventura’s attorneys improperly let the jury hear that the book’s publisher Harper Collins had an insurance policy to cover a defamation award and attorney fees.
"From our review, these unsupported, improper, and prejudicial statements were not heat of the moment argument, but were strategic and calculated," the judges wrote, noted the Associated Press.
Jurors would be less hesitant to issue a substantial defamation award if they knew Tara Kyle was covered by an insurance policy, said the appellate court according to the Star Tribune.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.