MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former Gov. Jesse Ventura’s old Navy SEAL teammates are marching to his defense at his defamation trial in a St Paul federal court.
Ventura is suing deceased “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle for claiming he “punched out” Ventura for making offensive, unpatriotic comments at a California bar.
This is the kind of stuff Navy SEALs like to keep quiet, but here’s what we’re learning about that night.
There were a lot of people attending two big events: a reunion of Ventura’s 1970 Underwater Demolition Team (the predecessor to the Navy SEALs) and a funeral wake for a fallen soldier.
Bill DeWitt testified that at no time did he hear the former governor act loud or obnoxious, and that the 1970 UDT/SEALs team certainly did not witness a fight.
“We would have been right there, we’d be next to him,” DeWitt said. “You would have had a bunch of 60-year-olds all over you.”
But under cross examination, DeWitt admitted his hearing is impaired, and that he had not been with Ventura the entire night.
And lawyers for Kyle’s widow say Ventura has been capable of offensive statements, including calling America “a fascist country,” saying he now refuses “to salute the flag,” that he “lost his patriotism” and that SEALs are “elite killer squads.”
The jury heard more from a videotaped deposition Friday from Kyle, who was later murdered at a shooting range in Texas in 2013.
Kyle said the Ventura fight story is only a tiny part of his bestselling autobiography, and that it had little to do with the book reaching number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.
“American Sniper” will soon be made into a Hollywood movie.