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Jury Begins Hearing Ventura’s Defamation Case

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jesse Ventura brought his defamation lawsuit before home-state jurors Tuesday in a bid to punish the estate of late “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle.

The former wrestler, Navy SEAL and Minnesota governor objects to Kyle’s boast in an autobiography that he decked Ventura during a barroom scrap almost a decade ago. Ventura pursued the claim even after Kyle was killed last year at a Texas gun range.

In opening statements in federal court, Ventura attorney David Bradley Olsen said the punch never happened and that Ventura never made disparaging comments about servicemen as Kyle claimed.

Kyle estate attorney John Borger countered that the jury would get the real story from Kyle via testimony videotaped before his death.

The first witness in the trial in St. Paul, Minnesota, was Kyle’s widow. Taya Kyle testified that her husband left Ventura’s name out of his book because the point wasn’t to call anyone out. She acknowledged she’d heard some concerns as he was writing the book that naming Ventura would risk a libel lawsuit, but she said she didn’t recall who raised them.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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