Publisher to cut Ventura passage from Chris Kyle’s memoir following verdict

Jesse Ventura

With a clean reputation, Jesse Ventura has 1.8 million reasons to smile. (Photo credit: Star Tribune)

The passage in the best-selling memoir “American Sniper” that sparked a defamation suit by Jesse Ventura against former sniper Chris Kyle will be removed from the book, the Associated Press reports.

Yesterday, a federal jury decided that Kyle defamed the former Minnesota governor and awarded Ventura $1.84 million in damages.

“The passage will be removed,” HarperCollins spokeswoman Erin Crum told the AP.

In his autobiography, Kyle wrote that he had punched a man, later identified as Ventura, in the face in 2006 for his critical statements about the war in Iraq and saying the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.”

Ventura, however, denied the incident ever took place, adding the defamation of character has injured his career.

“I can’t go to [Underwater Demolition Team]-SEAL reunions anymore because that was the place I always felt safe, and who will be next to throw me under the bus? I’d have to spend my time looking over my shoulder,” Ventura explained to the Star Tribune.

Additionally, Ventura said about the fight, “I am 6 feet 4, I weighed 255 pounds and I’ve wrestled Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, and this guy is going to knock me down with one punch and [leave] no mark on me whatsoever?”

Ventura launched the lawsuit against the self-proclaimed deadliest sniper in U.S. history in 2012. After Kyle was murdered in 2013, Ventura re-filed against Kyle’s widowed wife, Taya.

“We were surprised and disappointed to hear about the jury’s decision and are supportive of Taya as she moves forward,” HarperCollins said in a statement reacting to the verdict. “We steadfastly remain honored to be Chris’s publisher.”

“I am overjoyed that my reputation was restored which is what this whole lawsuit is all about,” Ventura said.

The trial kicked off at the beginning of July and closed last week. Legal experts said Ventura had to clear a high legal bar to win a defamation case, since he had to prove actual malice.

After closing, the judge gave the jury 22 pages of instructions to follow in order to come to a verdict. At first the judge said the verdict had to be unanimous, but attorneys for both sides agreed that they would allow a verdict if only eight of the 10 agreed.