Ventura deposition released in suit

Published 10:28 am Thursday, August 8, 2013

ST. PAUL — A newly unsealed deposition from Jesse Ventura shows that the former Minnesota governor was complaining about difficulty finding work after a Navy SEAL published a book he claims defamed him.

Ventura is suing the estate of Chris Kyle, a former sniper whose best-selling memoir, “American Sniper,” includes a description of him punching Ventura in a California bar in 2006. Ventura, a former Navy SEAL and professional wrestler, says the punch never happened.

Kyle was fatally shot in February by a former Marine suffering from post-traumatic stress. But a judge ruled that Ventura’s lawsuit could proceed against Kyle’s estate.

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When asked in the November deposition how the book had damaged him, Ventura said his job offers had dried up after it was published.

“I never had to really go out seeking anything until very recently,” he said. “Usually, it came to me. But within the last year, they ain’t been coming.”

Ventura also said he worried about being seen as a traitor to the military. Kyle wrote that he punched a celebrity — he identified the man only as “Scruff Face” — who was badmouthing Navy SEALs, President George W. Bush and U.S. policy in the Middle East.

“It’s affected me emotionally; it’s affected me how — how I feel now, how I’ll be perceived by the rest of the military, how I could be perceived by them, that I’m some sort of traitor to the Teams,” Ventura said in the deposition, in reference to the Navy special forces.

A judge last month ruled that Ventura’s deposition didn’t need to remain sealed. Kyle’s attorneys filed a version of it on Monday after Ventura and his attorneys were allowed to mark several parts of it to be kept confidential.

Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, has asked that the lawsuit be moved from Minnesota to Texas, where she lives.