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Kyle Feared Ventura Tale Had Eclipsed Book

Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in U.S. history, served as a Navy SEAL for eight years before stepping down to focus on his wife and children. (Credit: Daniel Penz, KTVT)

Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in U.S. history, served as a Navy SEAL for eight years before stepping down to focus on his wife and children. (Credit: Daniel Penz, KTVT)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - 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.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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