Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, right, makes his way out of the Warren E. Burger Federal Building Tuesday during the first day of jury selection in a defamation lawsuit in St. Paul, Minn. Jurors in Jesse Ventura's defamation lawsuit on Thursday heard a slain military sniper say in a recording that he didn't want his book overshadowed by a story about his alleged bar fight with the former Minnesota governor. (Elizabeth Flores / AP)
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ST. PAUL, MINN. — Jurors in Jesse Ventura’s defamation lawsuit on Thursday heard a slain military sniper say in a recording that he didn’t want his book overshadowed by a story about his alleged bar fight with the former Minnesota governor.
Ventura’s attorney played a section of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle’s deposition. Kyle, a former Navy SEAL, was fatally shot last year at a Texas gun range.
Ventura claims that Kyle made up a story in his best-selling autobiography about punching Ventura outside a California bar in 2006.
“American Sniper,” published in January 2012, describes a fight with an unnamed celebrity Kyle dubbed “Scruff Face.” Kyle later gave interviews on Sirius XM radio and Fox TV in which he identified Ventura as the man.
In his deposition, Kyle said that he was shocked the three pages about the alleged incident drew so much attention, the Star Tribune reported.
“Like I said, the story has been greatly exaggerated over the years,” Kyle told Ventura’s attorney, David B. Olsen.
Kyle’s deposition included emails suggesting Kyle’s publicists were pleased with the media coverage from the controversy, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
Ventura, a former SEAL who was Minnesota governor from 1999-2003, pursued his lawsuit even after Kyle was killed in February 2013, saying it was important to clear his name. Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, is now the defendant.