Former Navy SEAL and Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura says a late SEAL sniper's claim that he punched Ventura in a bar has curbed his ability to find work and left him fretting that people think he is a traitor, the Pioneer Press reports.
Ventura comments at length in the 332-page transcript of a deposition in his lawsuit against the late Chris Kyle, the newspaper reports. Kyle in his book "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," says that he punched Ventura in a California bar in 2006. (Kyle in the book says he threw the punch at a man identified as "Scruff Face," but Kyle later acknowledged it was Ventura.)
Kyle had claimed that Ventura had been badmouthing the SEALs prior to the punch, but Ventura adamantly denies that, and he flatly denies the punch ever happened. Ventura sued Kyle for defamation.
Among the tidbits the Pioneer Press digs out of the transcript of the eight-hour deposition:
- Ventura hasn't actually read Kyle's book. "I don't like to read fiction," he says.
- The book since its release has forced Ventura to look for work. "I never had to really go out seeking anything until very recently," he says in the deposition. "Usually, it came to me. But within the last year, they ain't been coming."
- The former Minnesota governor says Kyle's claims has left him constantly wondering if people have read the book and now believe Ventura is a traitor. "It's affected me emotionally; it's affected me how – how I feel now how I'll be perceived by the rest of the military, how I could be perceived by them, that I'm some sort of traitor to the [special forces] Teams."
Ventura had originally sued Kyle, who was shot and killed at a gun range in Texas in February.
A judge last month ruled that Ventura's case could continue against Kyle's widow, Tara.
Kyle's widow has asked that the case be moved from Minnesota to Texas, where she lives with her two children.