To the dismay of many, a U.S. magistrate judge has decided that Jesse Ventura’s lawsuit against former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle can proceed with the war hero’s widow as a substitute defendant.
Kyle, author of the best seller “American Sniper,” and friend Chad Littlefield, were killed early this year while mentoring a fellow veteran suffering from PTSD. The men took the troubled vetearn, Eddie Ray Routh, to a gun range, where he turned a gun on them.
Ventura’s lawyers asked the court to continue his lawsuit by substituting Kyle’s wife as the defendant. Taya Kyle, the executor of her husband’s estate, was subsequently named as replacement defendant, the Star Tribune reported.
The lawsuit stemmed from a passage in Kyle’s book describing a fight with an individual he later identified as Jesse Ventura.
According to Kyle, a group of SEALs had gathered at a bar to commemorate the recent loss of a comrade who died throwing himself on a grenade. Ventura happened to be in the bar and began bad-mouthing the U.S. military.
“He [Ventura] was bad-mouthing the war, bad-mouthing (former President) Bush, bad-mouthing America,” Kyle said on the O’Reilly Factor.
“He told us that we were killing innocent people over there… that we were murders,” Kyle told host Bill O’Reilly. “And then he said that we deserved to lose a few guys.”
And that’s when Kyle said he punched Ventura in the face. O’Reilly asked him if that really happened, if he knocked Ventura out, Kyle said: “Well, I knocked him down.”
Ventura claims the confrontation never occurred and that he never said the remarks attributed to him, which prompted his lawsuit.
John Borger, an attorney for Tara Kyle, told the Star Tribune when Ventura first made the request that “continuing this action will serve no useful purpose, and likely will promote public perception of Jesse Ventura as someone who has little or no regard for the feelings and welfare of surviving family members of deceased war heroes.”
Taya had two children with Kyle, who now will be raised without their father.
A possible motivation behind Ventura’s decision to move forward with legal action could be that filmmaker Steven Spielberg recently announced that he may direct a movie version of “American Sniper,” which means Kyle’s book is likely to reach an even bigger audience.
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