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Publisher to remove book passage that sparked Jesse Ventura lawsuit

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) - The publisher of a book at the center of a successful defamation case brought by former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura against the estate of a former Navy SEAL said on Wednesday it would delete the passage about a bar fight that sparked the suit.

HarperCollins, a subsidiary of News Corp, said the passage in the best-seller "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History" by Chris Kyle would be removed, without offering further details.

Ventura, was awarded more than $1.8 million in damages on Tuesday after a federal jury in St Paul, Minnesota, found he had been defamed in the book by Kyle, who said he hit a man who made disparaging remarks about the SEALS.

Ventura, who first gained national attention as a professional wrestler with a penchant for feathered boas and finger-wagging boasts, sued Kyle's estate for an undisclosed amount, saying his reputation was left in shambles by the passage.

Ventura was not named in the book, but Kyle said later that the man he hit was the former governor. Ventura said he had no recollection of Kyle and was angry that comments critical of the SEALS were attributed to him.

Kyle said in a videotaped deposition played for jurors at the trial that he punched Ventura, describing him as loud and belligerent. Kyle was killed in 2013 at a Texas shooting range by a troubled Iraq war veteran.

Ventura, a former member of the Naval Special Forces Underwater Demolition/SEAL teams, sued Kyle in 2012, saying the fight never happened.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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