ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The co-author of "American Sniper" testified Thursday that former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle did not want to name former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura as the man Kyle allegedly punched in a California bar in 2006.
Jim DeFelice testified as part of Ventura's defamation lawsuit against the estate of Kyle, who was killed in Texas last year.
One of Ventura's attorneys asked DeFelice why he did not contact Ventura about the section describing the bar fight when he was researching the book, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1nBDVzJ) reported.
"It was not Jesse's book," DeFelice responded.
In his 2012 book, Kyle wrote that he punched a man he called "Scruff Face." Kyle later identified the man as Ventura, also a former SEAL.
Ventura maintains that Kyle never hit him and that his reputation was damaged by Kyle's story.
In a video deposition aired earlier in the court case, Kyle stated that he did not want to embarrass any SEAL with revelations in the book and did not want Ventura's name used. Ventura's name appeared in early drafts shown on a large screen in the courtroom Thursday.
Attorney John Borger, one of the lawyers for Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, described the early version of the book as a "rough draft," with DeFelice conducting additional interviews "to nail down details."
Ventura's attorneys pointed out other elements in the drafts of the book and in tapes and transcripts of phone conversations between Chris Kyle and DeFelice that indicated that Kyle gave different versions of what happened on the night of Oct. 12, 2006.
According to the documents, Kyle told DeFelice that he punched Ventura in the eye, Ventura fell and hit his head, and Ventura appeared on television several days later with a black eye.
No evidence has been introduced in the trial, now in its eighth day, that Ventura was struck in the eye, hit his head or that anyone later saw him with a black eye after the incident in a Coronado, California, bar.
Testimony could wrap up Friday, and the 10-member jury could be deliberating by early next week.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com
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