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Defamation Trial Against 'American Sniper' Chris Kyle's Widow Starts Tuesday

Taya and Chris Kyle
Taya and Chris Kyle

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the defamation lawsuit Jesse Ventura filed against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.

Ventura claims Chris Kyle defamed him in his memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.

According to a May 2013 article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

In a section of his book called “Punching Out Scruff Face,” Kyle describes a confrontation with a “celebrity” at a 2006 wake for a Navy SEAL. He claimed “Scruff Face” made disparaging remarks about the war, the United States and President George W. Bush, provoking Kyle to punch him in the face.

Kyle later identified "Scruff Face" as Ventura. The alleged incident happened at McP's Irish Pub in Coronado.

Ventura filed a defamation lawsuit in 2012. When Kyle was shot to death in February 2013, his widow Taya Kyle became the defendant in the suit.

Jane Kirtley, an attorney and law professor, told the Star Tribune:

“This is a bizarre situation, given that the author is no longer living. Truth or falsity by itself is not the only issue. Ventura must prove Kyle knew he was writing a lie, or acted recklessly in writing his account.”