The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 8, 2014

Jury begins hearing Ventura's defamation case

ST. PAUL — Jesse Ventura brought his defamation lawsuit before home-state jurors Tuesday in a bid to punish the estate of late "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle, who bragged in an autobiography that he knocked the former Minnesota governor out during a barroom scrap almost a decade ago.

In opening statements in federal court, Ventura attorney David Olsen said the punch never happened and that Ventura never made disparaging comments about servicemen, as Kyle claimed.

"Jesse Ventura will testify there was no incident, there was no altercation, and that Kyle made the whole story up," Olsen said.

Kyle estate attorney John Borger countered that the jury would get the real story from Kyle via testimony videotaped before his death.

"You will hear Chris Kyle testify he was absolutely sure that what he wrote about Jesse Ventura's behavior was true," Borger said. Both sides said they would produce witnesses to back their version of events.

A four-woman, six-man jury was seated quickly to hear Ventura's case, which he pursued even after Kyle was killed last year at a Texas gun range, saying it was important to clear his name.

Ventura, a former Navy SEAL and wrestler who was Minnesota governor from 1999-2003, alleges Kyle defamed him in his best-selling book.

In it, Kyle — also a former SEAL and regarded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history — describes a 2006 bar fight in California in which he said he punched a man, later identified as Ventura, knocking him to the ground. Kyle claimed that Ventura was speaking loudly against President George W. Bush, the Iraq War and Navy SEAL tactics. Kyle claimed Ventura said the SEALS "deserve to lose a few."

Ventura, who has hosted several cable TV shows since his single term as Minnesota's governor ended in 2002, has said his job offers dried up after the book was published and he was worried about being seen as a traitor to the military.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Poet takes his act to Las Vegas LAS VEGAS — The old poet is dressed in black, his platinum-blond hair rakishly moussed. He stands amid the hubbub, facing a stern test of his crafted words and carnival-barker delivery. The venue is a smoky lounge called Ichabod’s, east of the Strip.

    July 23, 2014

  • Minnesota race track to refund horse owners ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota race track manager says the track will refund horse owners after an audit found it shorted race purses by nearly $437,000 over four years. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/1p9mtEh ) the Running Aces

    July 23, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysia jet victims leave Ukraine KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left the embattled plains of eastern Ukraine Wednesday, while British investigators began work on a pair of "black boxes" to retrieve da

    July 23, 2014

  • Attorney general sues 2 Minn. colleges ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and about transferring credits to other instit

    July 22, 2014

  • sniper wife pic Jurors start considering Ventura case ST. PAUL — An attorney for Jesse Ventura asked a federal jury Tuesday to award the former Minnesota governor millions of dollars in damages for what he claimed is a lie in a memoir by the late military sniper Chris Kyle. Ventura testified during the

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Target debuts shopping app "In a Snap" will recognize images

    July 22, 2014

  • Feds to monitor Newark police Probe found pattern of unconstitutional policing

    July 22, 2014

  • Thousands without power due to storms MCGREGOR (AP) — Thousands of Minnesotans are without electricity after powerful storms moved through central and northeastern Minnesota. Strong winds of 50 to 70 mph knocked down trees and power lines overnight Monday. Minnesota Power and Lake Count

    July 22, 2014

  • Ellison urges Minn. to aid Central American minors ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota congressman is leading efforts to bring more unaccompanied children fleeing Central America to the state. But, immigration advocates and nonprofit groups that serve refugees are concerned Minnesota might not be abl

    July 22, 2014

  • Detroit retirees back pension cuts by a landslide DETROIT (AP) — A year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest

    July 22, 2014