By Todd Melby and Art Hughes
ST PAUL Minn. (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Monday asked a jury to try one more time in a defamation case brought by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura when the panel said it could not reach a verdict after about five days of deliberations.
Ventura is suing the estate of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle for an undisclosed amount of money, saying the former pro-wrestler turned politician’s reputation was left in shambles by a passage in a book by Kyle about a bar fight between the two.
“We the jury have not reached a decision,” the 10-member jury said in a note to U.S. Judge Richard Kyle. After asking the jury to continue deliberations, the judge informed lawyers a “mistrial is a possibility.”
Lawyers for Chris Kyle’s estate contend Ventura’s defamation case is aimed at keeping the name of the fading star in the headlines at the expense of an ex-SEAL who served his country with honor.
Kyle, who was killed in 2013 at a Texas shooting range by a troubled Iraq war veteran, wrote in his bestselling book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” that he got into a fight with a man who made disparaging remarks about the Navy SEALS.
Ventura was not named in the book but Kyle later named Ventura as the person in the fight.
(Reporting by Todd Melby and Art Hughes; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jim Loney)