'American Sniper' widow to appeal Ventura defamation verdict

Taya Kyle
Taya Kyle, wife of the late author and former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, attends a screening of "American Sniper," on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 in New York.
Dave Allocca / Starpix via AP

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's summer victory in a defamation lawsuit could go to a higher court for review.

Taya Kyle, the widow of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, asked the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to overturn a federal jury's July decision to award Ventura $1.8 million. The jurors voted 8-2 that Chris Kyle's book, "American Sniper," defamed Ventura.

The book included a scene in which Kyle claimed to have punched a bar patron who, he said, had insulted the SEALs. The book referred to the patron as "Scruff Face," but Kyle later said he had been referring to Ventura. Ventura denied the fight took place and said the book hurt his reputation.

Ventura sued HarperCollins, the book's publisher, for defamation earlier this month. He claimed HarperCollins took advantage of the publicity that Kyle's story about Ventura generated.

A film adaptation of "American Sniper," directed by Clint Eastwood, is set for theatrical release on Thursday.

Taya Kyle became the defendant in the defamation case against her husband last year after he was killed on a Texas gun range.

Ventura attorney Court Anderson and Kyle attorney John Borger both declined to comment on the filing.

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