Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura can continue his lawsuit over publication of a book that he contends defamed him, a federal magistrate ruled Thursday.

Chris Kyle, author of the book “American Sniper,” was killed in February by a young veteran he was mentoring, so Ventura’s attorneys asked that they be allowed to maintain the suit by substituting Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle, as the defendant.

Arthur Boylan, U.S. chief magistrate judge for the federal courts in Minnesota, wrote in his ruling that a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure specifies that if “a party dies and the claim is not extinguished, the court may order substitution of the proper party.” Boylan said the proper party is Chris Kyle’s legal representative, and Taya Kyle, executor of her husband’s estate, is the proper party, so she becomes the defendant.

Ventura and Chris Kyle are former Navy SEALs. Ventura sued Kyle over his description of a confrontation in 2006 in a California bar with a “celebrity” identified as “Scruff Face.” Kyle said that “Scruff Face” made disparaging remarks about the war in Iraq, the United States and President George W. Bush, provoking Kyle to punch him in the face.

Although he didn’t name “Scruff Face” in the book, Kyle alleged in media interviews that he was describing Ventura.

Ventura sued, saying the confrontation never occurred, he never made such remarks and the ongoing publicity injured his reputation.

RANDY FURST