Minnesota news in brief at 7:58 p.m. CDT

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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Jury begins hearing Ventura’s defamation case

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Jesse Ventura brought his defamation lawsuit before home-state jurors Tuesday in a bid to punish the estate of late “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle, who bragged in an autobiography that he decked the former Minnesota governor during a barroom scrap almost a decade ago.

In opening statements in federal court, Ventura attorney David Bradley Olsen said the punch never happened and that Ventura never made disparaging comments about servicemen, as Kyle claimed.

“Jesse Ventura will testify there was no incident, there was no altercation and that Kyle made the whole story up,” Olsen said.

Kyle estate attorney John Borger countered that the jury would get the real story from Kyle via testimony videotaped before his death.

“You will hear Chris Kyle testify he was absolutely sure that what he wrote about Jesse Ventura’s behavior was true,” Borger said. Both sides said they would produce witnesses to back their version of events.

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Minnesota home care workers launch union vote

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Home health care workers in Minnesota moved ahead Tuesday with a union election, despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that may make their road more difficult.

Union organizers presented a petition to state officials to trigger the Minnesota election, even though the Supreme Court ruled last week that similar workers in Illinois don’t have to pay any union dues.

The 2013 Minnesota Legislature passed a bill that allows a unionization vote by workers who provide care to elderly and disabled people in their homes. Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/1jcvbVyhttp://bit.ly/1jcvbVy ) reports that more than 26,000 workers are eligible to vote, and the 9,000 cards delivered to the state Bureau of Mediation Services exceeded the 30 percent required to trigger an election.

At a rally outside the bureau office, Tyler Frank of Minneapolis said the high turnover rate among personal care assistants means he has to spend more time caring for his partner, Nicole.

“When home care workers finally receive the attention and the respect we deserve for the difficult work we do, when our jobs are finally seen as the careers that they are, Nicole can finally get the reliable help that she needs to thrive,” Frank said. “And with that steady help, I’ll no longer need to choose between my goals and hers.”

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Police: Minnesota toddler’s death was accident

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