Jesse Ventura, the former professional wrestler and 38th Governor of Minnesota, appeared in court Tuesday for his defamation lawsuit against slain former Navy SEAL and author Chris Kyle.

Jesse Ventura Sues 'American Sniper' Chris Kyle

In his suit, which was filed when Kyle was still alive in 2012, Ventura claims that Kyle fabricated a story about him in his bestseller American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, reported the Star Tribune. The story in question indicates that Ventura made an insensitive remark about servicemen, which Kyle responded to with a punch to the sometime-actor’s face.

“You deserve to lose a few,” Kyle quoted a man named “Scruff Face” as saying in a bar. After hearing the remark, Kyle says he punched “Scruff Face,” knocking him to the ground. Though he’d used discretion in the book, Kyle went on to identify "Scruff Face" as the former governor in media interviews.

The burden of proof in the case is on Ventura and his attorneys, who will have to prove not only that Kyle’s account in the book is false, but also that he knew it was false and that he claimed “Scruff Face” was Ventura with malicious intent. Though Ventura stands to get a hefty sum of money should he win, he maintains that it’s not about the payday, but “clearing [his] name.”

Chris Kyle and a friend of his were killed at a Texas gun range in February 2013 by an Iraq War veteran he was trying to help cope with PTSD. His surviving wife, Taya Kyle, is now the defendant in Ventura’s lawsuit.


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