Jesse Ventura to proceed in defamation suit against slain American Sniper author Chris Kyle
Jesse Ventura has decided to proceed in his defamation case against Christopher Kyle, the Iraq war vet and best-selling author who was gunned down at a shooting range earlier this year, says Ventura's attorney, David Olsen.
Ventura filed the suit in February 2012, alleging Kyle fabricated a story about punching him out for his book, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. According to Kyle's account, Ventura was being loud and rude at a California bar in 2006, at one point telling Kyle, "You deserve to lose a few." Kyle was at the time mourning the death of a teammate, and clocked Ventura in the face, according to his book.
Kyle doesn't mention Ventura by name, but has acknowledged that "Scruff face" is indeed a reference to Minnesota's former governor. Several Navy SEALs have filed affidavits corroborating that Ventura was at the bar acting disrespectful, and at least one claims to have seen the entire incident play out. Ventura denies the whole story, and says he was not at the bar that night.
The case was scheduled for trial this August. On Feb. 2, former marine Eddie Ray Routh shot and killed Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a firing range in Texas. Kyle had reportedly brought Routh to the range as an outlet for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a form of therapy he believed helped soldiers acclimate into life after active duty.
After Kyle's death, there was a question as to what would become of the suit. In late February, Ventura noted in a court filing his intent to proceed against Kyle's estate. The formal paperwork to move the case forward hasn't been filed yet, but Olsen says they are only waiting for someone to be appointed to oversee Kyle's estate.
"From the beginning, his intent has been to clear his name," says Olsen. "He's always said that the story written about him was not true. It was a fabrication. And he wants to prove that."
Kyle's attorney, John Borger, declined to comment on the case.
Here's Ventura talking about the allegations in an interview with Alex Jones last January:
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