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Reality Check: Is Jesse Ventura ‘Controversial’?

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former Gov. Jesse Ventura’s defamation trial had a day off in St. Paul federal court Friday after a week of surprising revelations.

Among them, Ventura testified in court that he doesn’t know if he’s controversial, or if he says anything provocative.

That may come as a surprise to many Minnesotans, who are accustomed to Ventura’s sometimes unusual behavior.

As Minnesota governor, Ventura moonlighted as a wrestling referee, sharing the ring with a wrestler named “Mr. Ass.”

In Playboy Magazine, he called organized religion “a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people.”

And he belittled Minnesota hunters in the Star Tribune. The former Navy SEAL said “you haven’t really hunted until you’ve hunted man.”

Ventura was governor during 9/11, and led the state’s official memorial service. Now he believes the U.S. government and Dick Cheney — not Osama bin Laden — were behind it.

“My theory of 9/11 is that we certainly, at best, we knew it was going to happen. They allowed it to happen to further their agenda in the Middle East to go to these wars,” Ventura told former CNN host Piers Morgan.

And because a federal court dismissed his lawsuit against the TSA, Ventura now vows to turn his back on the U.S. flag, and raise a fist like the 1968 Olympians.

And the United States of America?

“We are no longer, in my opinion, the United States of America. We’re the fascist states of America,” Ventura said in a 2012 press conference at the federal courthouse in St. Paul.

The former governor is suing the estate of Chris Kyle, the deceased author of the bestselling memoir “American Sniper,” for defamation.

The book claims Ventura was “punched out” in a California bar for making offensive and unpatriotic comments, an incident Ventura says never happened.

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