Sniper's deposition video shows no fear of Ventura suit - KMSP-TV

Sniper's deposition video shows no fear of Ventura suit

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

In a video deposition played in federal court on Wednesday, Chris Kyle, author of "American Sniper" said he was not concerned by the defamation lawsuit filed by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura; however, he did remove the former Navy SEAL, wrestler and politician's name in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit.

"You can't defeat the truth," Kyle said during the recorded interview with Ventura's attorneys.

Ventura contends that Kyle invented a story about punching out a man in a California bar in 2006 -- a man he later identified as Ventura. The best-selling author was also asked if he had met Ventura prior to the alleged brawl, and Kyle said no, he had not met his fellow Navy SEAL; however, he did say he had the impression Ventura was "a pretty cool dude."

Attorneys for Ventura insist that the fight never occurred, and they argue that their client's reputation was significantly damaged by Kyle's claim. Kyle, however, was killed at a Texas gun range last year. The current suit names his estate.


Her testimony was often tearful, and Kyle's widow, Taya, told jurors that she and her husband never intended to profit from the anecdote, which accuses Ventura of making a disparaging remark about servicemen before he was supposedly punched out.

Taya Kyle explained that the pair wanted to donate money to other veterans; however, she said they were limited by gift tax laws that prevented them from donating more than $13,000 each to two families last year.

According to Taya Kyle, her husband didn't even want to write the book, which has earned more than $3 million in royalties. In fact, she said he only did so because he didn't want others to do it instead, adding that he was "one of the most humble people I ever knew." She testified that he did not intend to glorify himself in the book, but rather "to throw his flaws on the table."

Ventura's attorneys, on the other hand, have been working to paint Kyle as someone seeking fame and fortune, prone to bragging and perhaps even embellishing. They noted that even the subtitle of his book boasts that he's the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, but his widow claimed the publisher put that on the cover.

"He wrote the book to share his experience and to make sure he didn't come across a somebody who was all that," she said.

Before Taya Kyle took the stand, jurors had already seen YouTube clips of her late husband talking about punching Ventura on 'The O'Reilly Factor' and on the 'Opie and Anthony Radio Show.' In those interviews and during the videotaped deposition, Kyle appeared to be relaxed and polite. He even admitted to Ventura's attorneys that he did little to prepare for their questions because he was "not real concerned about this."

Taya Kyle also testified that the 3-page subchapter of the book will not be a part of the movie that is set to be directed by Clint Eastwood. Kyle said the screenwriter explained that there wasn't enough room for it. Earlier in the case, the judge ruled that any profits from an upcoming movie based on Kyle's book could be subject to damages.


In his autobiography, Kyle only identified the man as "Scruff Face," and claimed the man was speaking loudly against President George W. Bush, the Iraq War and Navy SEAL tactics -- even going so far as to say the SEALS "deserve to lose a few." It was only later that Kyle identified "Scruff Face" as Ventura. Since then, Ventura contends his job offers have dried up, and he worries about being seen as a military traitor.

Ventura's legal team must prove that Kyle profited from a made-up story in order to succeed. They will call witnesses -- including the bars owners -- to testify that the event never occurred, but Kyle's defense team plans to do the same by calling witnesses who claim it did.

MORE: Opening statements in Jesse Ventura defamation suit

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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