A Minneapolis attorney who represented the Star Tribune and other media organizations on First Amendment issues over four decades has received the highest honor from the national media law organization of the American Bar Association (ABA).

John Borger was given the Champion of the First Amendment award from the ABA Forum on Communications Law at its annual conference this year in Napa, Calif.

Borger, who retired last year from the Faegre Baker Daniels law firm, is only the third recipient of the award, the others being Richard Winfield, who was general counsel for the Associated Press for three decades, and James Goodale, general counsel at the New York Times at the time of the Pentagon Papers case.

The award cited Borger's lifelong career of devotion to freedom of speech and freedom of the press and "for passionately and zealously fighting to hold public officials and institutions accountable through transparency."

It also cited his pivotal role in helping to organize a national network of lawyers who represent the news media.

The award was presented to Borger by Steven Zansberg, a former national chair of the Forum on Communications Law.

Borger was the lead attorney representing the estate of the late Chris Kyle, which was sued for defamation by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. Ventura said Kyle fabricated an incident in Kyle's bestselling memoir, "American Sniper," concerning a fight Kyle claimed the two had in a California bar. Ventura won a $1.8 million verdict in U.S. District Court in St. Paul in 2014, but it was overturned by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and settled out of court last year.