Ex-wrestler and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has moved to sue the widow of a U.S. veteran who was known as the most lethal sniper in American military history.
Ventura's lawyers have filed a motion requesting that a federal court allow him to sue Taya Kyle, the widow of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, in place of the veteran, who was killed by a U.S. Marines reservist whom he was mentoring at a Texas shooting range in February.
The suit stems from Ventura's displeasure with certain passages of "American Sniper," a best-selling book by Chris Kyle that cast Ventura in an unfavorable, unpatriotic light.
“Although Kyle is deceased, his ‘American Sniper’ book continues to sell and it is soon to be made into a movie,” Ventura's attorney David Bradley Olsen wrote in a motion filed last week, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune.
The brief went on to state that “it would be unjust to permit the estate to continue to profit from Kyle’s wrongful conduct and to leave Governor Ventura without redress for ongoing damage to his reputation.”
Taya Kyle's lawyer, John Borger, filed a response on Wednesday.
“Continuing this action will serve no useful purpose,” Borger wrote, “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.”
Chris Kyle wrote in his book that he got into a "bar fight" with a man he referred to only as "Scruff Face" (he later admitted he was speaking about Ventura in the passage) over remarks he made about the Iraq War. He clarified his writings in an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News. Here's that discussion as compiled by the Daily Mail:
"'He was bad-mouthing the war, bad-mouthing [former President] Bush, bad-mouthing America,' Mr. Kyle told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly
'He told us that we were killing innocent people over there, men women children, that we were murders,' Mr Kyle said, adding that he told the governor to tone down his rhetoric.
'And then he said that we deserved to lose a few guys.'
That's when Mr Kyle slugged Mr Ventura in the face, he says.
'That happened? You knocked him out?' Mr O'Reilly asks.
'Well, I knocked him down,' Mr Kyle responds."
The book is now slated to be made into a film directed by Steven Spielberg.
Ventura claimed that the incident and conversation never took place, and he sued Kyle for defamation and "unjust enrichment." And now he’s decided to instead sue Kyle’s wife, as she is executor of his estate.