What were the challenges of working on such a high profile case?
Minneapolis litigator David Olsen of Henson & Efron discusses the challenges of working on high profile cases.
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Well, one of the biggest challenges was overcoming preconceived notions. Because both Kyle and Governor Ventura were famous, we had a jury that knew of or heard of these people. They have read stories about ’em, especially in Minnesota. During Governor Venture’s time as Governor, he was in the paper every day, he was on TV every day. He’s said a lot of things people may not disagree with. He tends to speak his mind. So we had the preconceived notions about who is Jesse Ventura? What does he believe in? What is he like? And you also have the preconceived notions about Jesse Ventura, as the media often characterized it, going after a military hero and going after a widow. So we had to overcome all of that and educate the jury and bring up witnesses to talk about Jesse Ventura the human, Jesse Ventura the person. Who is he really? And how has this really damaged his reputation? And why?
And as the story came out, it was more about Jesse Ventura’s close fraternal relationship with those he served with when he was a SEAL. They’re like a band of brothers, and they’ve remained so today. And with these stories going around about Jesse Ventura saying that SEALs deserve to die and making other similar comments, it really, really cut him to the core. And that came out during the trial, and the jury obviously identified with it. And the other huge obstacle we had to overcome was the sympathy factor because, again, you do have – even though we contend it’s an insurance company paying for everything, in the end, we do have a widow sitting in front of the jury and that was difficult to do. So we had to overcome that as well.