Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Ex-Governor, Suing Over Book, Is Back in Minnesota’s Spotlight

By MONICA DAVEY, NYT
JULY 8, 2014

ST. PAUL — Jesse Ventura, the blunt-talking former governor with the outsize reputation, has always been hard to define. The same man who upended Minnesota’s political establishment more than a decade ago with a third-party candidacy was once better known as a professional wrestler who wore a feather boa and went by the nickname “The Body.” He has been an author, a member of a special unit of the Navy and a television host.

Now he is a plaintiff in a defamation suit in which jurors in a federal courtroom here must decide whether his reputation was harmed by a best-selling book by a former member of the Navy SEALs.

Mr. Ventura, 62, who on Tuesday sat quietly at the plaintiff’s table in a sedate gray suit, his hair in a modest silver ponytail, has sued the estate of Chris Kyle, the former SEALs member, who alluded to Mr. Ventura in his book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.”

The case is likely to test the higher legal standard a public figure must meet to prove defamation. The proceeding is also complicated by Mr. Kyle’s death in a shooting in Texas in 2013, about a year after the suit was filed. The death left Mr. Kyle’s widow, Taya, as the defendant on behalf of his estate. And in a state where Mr. Ventura’s legacy is still a matter of debate, the trial is also returning the former governor, who had largely faded from the political landscape, to the spotlight.

(More here.)

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