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ST. PAUL, MINN. — The jury weighing former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura’s defamation lawsuit against “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle told the judge Monday they didn’t think they could reach a unanimous verdict, but he asked them to keep trying.
U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle told attorneys he received a note from jurors around noon saying: “We the jury have not reached a unanimous decision. ... We feel we will not come to a unanimous decision.”
Monday was the fifth day of their deliberations following about 24½ hours of discussions that began after closing arguments last Tuesday.
Judge Kyle asked the jury “to go back one more time and have some further discussions,” and told them not to lower their standards to reach a decision.
He also praised them as one of the most conscientious juries he’s ever had, but noted the case might have to be re-tried if they remain deadlocked.
“There’s no reason to believe the case will be better tried,” said the judge, who is not related to the author.
After the jury resumed deliberations, the judge told attorneys for both sides he didn’t know what was going to happen. He said nothing to indicate how the jury might be split.
“Stay close because this might not be a long afternoon,” he said.
Chris Kyle wrote in his best-selling 2012 memoir that he decked Ventura in a California bar in 2006 after Ventura allegedly said Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.”
Ventura, a former SEAL and professional wrestler, testified that Kyle fabricated the passage about punching him and the quote. But Kyle said in testimony videotaped before his death in Texas last year that his story was accurate.
Both sides presented witnesses who backed their versions of events.
Ventura’s attorney, David Bradley Olsen, has asked for millions in damages.