Kyle’s widow asks judge to throw out Ventura verdict

Illustration by Ken Avidor

Nope, it’s not over. Lawyers for Taya Kyle, widow of author Chris Kyle, have asked a federal judge to throw out the $1.8 million libel judgement the Kyle estate was ordered to pay Jesse Ventura last month, writes the Strib’s Joy Powell: “The attorneys representing the slain author’s widow, Taya Kyle, want either a new trial or a judgment entered in favor of Kyle’s estate. … In late July, following a three-week trial, jurors in U.S. District Court in Minnesota awarded Ventura $500,000 on his defamation claim and nearly $1.35 million for the former governor’s ‘unjust-enrichment’ claim. …The court papers filed Thursday claim that the defamation award was legally and factually inappropriate and that Ventura failed to prove that Kyle’s statements were materially false.” 

Knuckle Draggers? Two veteran Richfield police officers have filed suit against the city, alleging ageism, writes the Strib’s John Reinan: “According to sworn affidavits from the veteran officers, members of the department’s hiring examination panel said the Richfield department needed more ‘knuckle draggers’ on the force. Richfield is moving for immediate dismissal of the suit. … In court filings, the city says the officers’ allegations consist mainly of hearsay and outright falsehoods. The officers’ claims ‘are based on pure speculation and the hope that misplaced indignation and faux self-righteousness will be accepted in lieu of facts.’”

MPR’s Tim Post details the teacher shortage in rural Minnesota: “It’s pretty much the same wherever you go outside of the Twin Cities. The state’s rural school superintendents say they’ve noticed a sharp decline in applicants for teaching jobs. Shortages in fields like special education, math and science are not new in Minnesota. But superintendents are starting to see that spread to openings for positions that usually garner a high number of applicants, like elementary teaching jobs. There are theories … but no one good explanation for why it’s become harder for rural Minnesota to lure the next generation of educators.”

Paul Walsh of Star Tribune reports on a tragic, and utterly preventable, accident: “A 20-year-old driver has been charged with negligent homicide, accused of surfing Facebook on her cellphone when she rear-ended an SUV at 85 mph, without braking, on a North Dakota highway and killed an 89-year-old great-grandmother from northwestern Minnesota. Abby E. Sletten, of Hatton, N.D., appeared Wednesday in Traill County District Court after being charged with killing Phyllis Gordon, 89, of Ada, Minn. … early in the afternoon of May 27. A search of Sletten’s cellphone by police ‘determined that [she] was viewing pictures on her Facebook application … at the time.’” 

Don’t spend it all in one place. The Pioneer Press’ Frederick Melo details Ford’s tax dispute with Ramsey County over its now shuttered facility in Highland Park. “Minnesota taxpayers owe Ford Motor Co. about $4 million in refunds for tax payments made from 2007 to 2011 on the company’s property in St. Paul — and perhaps millions more for payments made since then. The longstanding dispute was … recently decided by a Minnesota Tax Court judge. Ramsey County Assessor Stephen Baker said the tax refund is the largest he has seen in his 13 years with the county — and possibly the largest in county history.”

Now everybody can get married in … Hudson. The New York Times’ Erik Eckholm explains the federal appeals court decision knocking down the bans against gay marriage in the states of Wisconsin and Indiana. “The ruling by the Seventh Circuit joins similar appeals-court decisions that overturned same-sex marriage bans in Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia, with still other circuit court rulings on marriage expected in the weeks ahead. … Thursday’s opinion was issued with unusual speed and written by Judge Richard A. Posner, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan who is known for his tart words and independent thought. … The argument that allowing same-sex marriage will somehow undermine the protection of children in heterosexual marriages, the court said, ‘is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously.’” 

Law enforcement is searching for ways to curb Minnesota’s heroin problem, according to the Strib’s David Chanen: “Minnesota is one of the first to hold a statewide meeting on heroin, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum. … Many of those present referred to the state’s growing heroin problem as a public health epidemic that should be addressed in the same way as any infectious disease. U.S. Attorney Andy Luger reiterated his office’s newest strategy — going after smaller heroin dealers instead of waiting for bigger shipments. In a policy shift, he encouraged police to consider presenting cases involving drug overdose deaths against dealers to his office instead of to a county prosecutor, because a federal conviction guarantees a longer sentence.” 

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/05/2014 - 08:20 am.

    Just wondering

    If heroin use is a public health issue – as the participants in the state “summit” seem to agree it is – why does the response lean so heavily toward criminalization and law enforcement rather than treatment? We know that prohibition doesn’t work, so tossing a lot of “small time dealers” in jail isn’t going to have much effect on usage except to make it more expensive, which will simply encourage more small-time capitalists to get involved. That, in turn, will encourage more communities to waste more money on increasingly militarized police responses that do nothing – nothing – to address the underlying problem of why people would want to use the drug in the first place. Repeating the obvious: prohibition does not work. There must be a more constructive (meaning less wasteful of time, energy and resources) way to address this issue.

    • Submitted by Peter Mikkalson on 09/05/2014 - 12:07 pm.

      None that guarantees

      all the current players continue to pull a hefty paycheck, enjoy their insufferable power play or enjoy that gold-plated retirement in San Juan.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/05/2014 - 09:03 am.

    When Our “Conservative” Friends

    Have worked so hard for the past thirty+ years to denigrate teachers, destroy their due process job protections, and keep their pay as low as possible, it’s not surprising that fewer young people are interested in becoming teachers.

    Who would want to get a four-year college degree to prepare for a job which will pay you LESS than almost any other job with similar qualifications,…

    a job which will mean that, in many communities, especially outstate communities in “conservative” areas, from the first moment you set foot in front of your first class of students,…

    some in the local community, and “conservative” politicians and pundits are likely to make you feel as if you have a target on your back?

    There are many ways to make a living that will provide better compensation and far less stress,…

    and isn’t it typical of today’s crop of “conservatives” that the only ways they can allow themselves to consider using to solve the problems they discover in the world around them,…

    problems which, in reality, often don’t even exist, produce exactly the opposite of what they tell themselves (and everyone else) they’re trying to accomplish:

    i.e. their constant carping and attacks on educational professionals,…

    their continuous efforts to keep school budgets as cheap as possible,…

    and their endless whining about the poor quality of teachers and teaching (an activity which none of them could or would actually be able to do, themselves),…

    they have ensured that those young folk who might have been interested in teaching and might have become truly excellent teachers have zero interest in entering the field.

  3. Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/05/2014 - 12:51 pm.

    Ventura-sized headache.

    Why is this news at all anymore?

    Its going to go on until everyone cringes at the mere mention of the participants’ names.

    End of Story.

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