At issue in the trial is whether Kyle, author of "American Sniper:
The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military
History," a 2012 nonfiction bestseller, damaged the reputation of
Ventura, a former SEAL who served one term as governor.
His lawsuit contends Kyle described an encounter with Ventura at a
California bar in October 2006 that never happened, causing Ventura,
a former professional wrestler and actor, financial losses in
addition to harming his reputation.
Kyle claimed in his book and in interviews supporting its sales that
Ventura made disparaging remarks about servicemen and Kyle decked
him with a punch to the face.
In his book, Kyle described an encounter with a man, who he
identified only as "Scruff Face," who insisted that SEALs serving in
Iraq hadn't suffered enough casualties.
"You deserve to lose a few," Kyle quoted "Scruff Face" as saying. In
later media interviews, Kyle said "Scruff Face" was Ventura.
Kyle, a decorated sniper, was killed along with a neighbor in
February 2013 at a Texas shooting range by a troubled Iraq war
veteran he was trying to mentor.
Ventura's lawsuit filed against Kyle in 2012 now names as the
defendant his widow, Taya Kyle, as executrix of Kyle's estate.
[to top of second column]
Ventura is expected to testify and several hours of videotaped
depositions given by Kyle are expected to be played at the trial
before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle, who is not related to
the Kyle family.
The jury is being asked to determine whether Ventura was defamed,
whether the statements were false and, because Ventura is a public
figure, if Kyle made them with actual malice.
The trial could last more than two weeks.
(Editing by David Bailey and Matt Driskill)
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