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Associated Press, Published August 29 2012

Writer's attorney says Ventura defamation claim deficient

ST. PAUL — Newly filed documents in a defamation lawsuit by Jesse Ventura include more details about an alleged bar fight involving the former Minnesota governor.

Ventura filed the defamation lawsuit in January, accusing author Chris Kyle of making up his account of the fight in Coronado, Calif., six years ago, the Star Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/SPs2uu ).

Kyle, like Ventura a former Navy SEAL, included the story in his memoir, “American Sniper.” In a motion filed Tuesday in federal court, Kyle's attorney John Borger sought dismissal of two of the three counts in Ventura's lawsuit.

Included in the motion were declarations from several witnesses to the alleged fight at a pub where Kyle and his friends were having a wake for a fellow SEAL. Their accounts generally agreed with Kyle's description of the fight, which he said resulted from unpatriotic remarks from Ventura, including that the SEALs “deserve to lose a few” in Iraq.

Debbie Lee, who lost her son, Navy SEAL Marc Lee, in Iraq, said one of her son's teammates introduced her to Ventura. She said she found him offensive, criticizing the war and calling President George W. Bush a jerk. Ventura could only talk about himself, she said. “He did not say he was sorry for my loss,” she said.

Most of the witnesses said they didn't see Kyle hit Ventura, but Jeremiah Dinnell, an active-duty SEAL, said he saw that and heard the remarks that led up to it, according to the documents.

“I heard Ventura say that we shouldn't be over in Iraq, doing what we were doing,” he said. "And then he said that the SEALs deserved to lose some guys because of what we were doing.

“That's when Chris punched him. All of us wanted to. Chris was just the first one to pop him.”

Ventura's attorney, David Olsen, declined comment and said he would respond in court.

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