Jesse Ventura: "We're a fascist nation now"
Jesse Ventura's lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration over airport pat-downs, which he refers to as "sexual assault," got underway Friday, but Ventura saved the drama for just after the first hearing ended.
Ventura says his titanium hip implant always sets off airport metal detectors, leading to a series of invasive pat-downs by TSA agents. His suit, which he brought in January, claims the procedure is a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights -- "against unreasonable searches and seizures" -- and on Friday, Ventura told the TSA attorney that the policy is un-American.
After the hearing adjourned, Ventura approached Tamara Ulrich as she prepared to leave the courtroom, according to the Pioneer Press.
"In a free country," Ventura said, "you should never feel comfortable being searched. This is not the country I was born in. We're a fascist nation now."
Ventura got a hip replacement in 2008, and since then has set off metal detectors across the country, according to the complaint.
"The Body" needs to travel frequently to film his television show, "Conspiracy Theory," a TruTV show where he and a team of young "researchers" act out the first half-hour of a Michael Bay movie, where nothing is as it seems and no one believes the main character, Ventura.
Ventura's suit also rejects the option of full-body scans, which the complaint argues might be harmful with repeated exposure, and also "is tantamount to a warrantless, non-suspicion-based, electronically-recorded strip search."
On Friday, U.S. attorneys representing TSA pushed for dismissal of the case, arguing that "Standard Operating Procedure" rules can only be challenged in a federal appeals court and only within 60 days of the offense.
If and when Ventura's suit gets its day in court, expect things to get very weird. On one side is a government agency that's angered a lot of people and is, bizarrely, subjecting a former Navy Seal and state elected official to an invasive security check.
On the other side is a guy who uses his professional wrestling name, and not his given name of James G. Janos, in official court documents and who told City Pages in December 2009 that he doubts the official version of the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
"I find the government's theory to be wanting," he said. "They've told us that 19 Islamic radicals armed with box cutters defeated our multibillion-dollar air defense system, while conspiring with a bearded guy in a cave in Afghanistan."
After he left the courthouse on Friday, Ventura told reporters that it wasn't worth sacrificing individual rights in the name of safety.
"I would rather face the terrorist on a daily basis than give up one of my rights," he said.
Jesse Ventura, taking on the U.S. government and fighting terrorists on a daily basis? This is going to be the most awesome Micheal Bay movie ever.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.