A marathon legal battle between a combat knife salesman and Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, came to an end Friday, after a Northern Virginia jury awarded the former security firm executive $2.6 million in civil damages on numerous counts, including breach of contract and fraud.
The jury’s decision comes after a testy and lengthy dispute between Prince, 48, who is an ex-Navy SEAL, and Robert Young Pelton, 62, a California-based war correspondent who owns a survival gear company called DPx Gear. For several years, the two men have been suing each other, first in federal court and then in Loudoun County, where Prince keeps a residence in nearby Middleburg.
The trial in Leesburg — which featured rare public testimony by Prince — happened to coincide with his name surfacing in connection with a meeting early this year with an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his purported pitch to President-elect Donald Trump to establish a private network of spies. (Prince denied his involvement with that proposal, which was reported this week by The Intercept.)