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Ventura suing over 'American Sniper' book in Minn. court

Sept. 24, 2013 at 3:08 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- A defamation lawsuit filed by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura against the widow of a former Navy SEAL will not be moved to Texas, a judge said.

Ventura sued Chris Kyle for a passage in his book, "American Sniper," in which Kyle describes a bar brawl with an unidentified man spouting conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq and then-President George W. Bush.

Only later did Kyle reveal Ventura as the purported conspiracy theorist, the Dallas Morning News said Tuesday. Ventura denies the fight ever happened.

Kyle and a friend were killed on a shooting range near Kyle's Dallas-area home Feb. 2.

Ventura's suit, filed in January 2012, alleges "false and defamatory statements were calculated to bring Governor Ventura into disrepute and to harm Governor Ventura's reputation in the community."

After Kyle's death, Ventura sought and won the right to substitute Kyle's widow, Taya, as the defendant.

Taya Kyle's attorney sought to have the case transferred from St. Paul, Minn., to Dallas, which is closer to her home. Ventura's legal team objected, charging the attempt to move the case was tantamount to a plea for sympathy from the court because her husband is revered as a war hero in Texas.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle (no relation to the defendant) ruled in Ventura's favor Tuesday, declining to grant Kyle's request for a change of venue in the lawsuit. A trial was scheduled for May 1, 2014.

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