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Jesse Ventura deposition should be public, judge says

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 19, 2013 at 4:32 PM   |   Comments

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July 19 (UPI) -- The deposition given by former wrestler and Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura will need to be made public, partially or in whole, a federal judge ordered Thursday.

Ventura is suing deceased Navy SEAL Chris Kyle for allegedly libeling him in his bestselling book "American Sniper."

Chief U.S. Magistrate Arthur Boylan ruled the deposition was never meant to be confidential, so a version of it should be made available to the public. Ventura's lawyers, however, will have the opportunity to determine if certain parts should be kept private.

Ventura's suit claims Kyle made up a story in which he punched the former governor, identified in the book only as "Scruff Face" but acknowledged by Kyle as Ventura in interviews. Ventura said he was in the bar the 2006 night Kyle described, but his attorneys have provided witness affidavits that said there was no fight and no punch.

Kyle was shot and killed by a former Marine in February. Following his death, Ventura's lawyers successfully sought to have Tara Kyle, Chris Kyle's widow, inserted as a substitute defendant.

Oddly, the petition to make the deposition public was brought by a third party, longtime Ventura nemesis Leslie Davis. Davis has long claimed Ventura has misrepresented his military service, claiming to be a SEAL while actually serving as a member of the Underwater Demolition Team, a unit that later merged with the SEALs.

"I'm intervening because he's a fraud," Davis said of Ventura. "Part of it was to challenge his Navy SEAL credentials, but I was saying he wasn't defamed, he wasn't injured [by Kyle]."

No date has been set for the trial.

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