Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre is fighting back against accusations concerning welfare fraud and is now suing sportscasters Shannon Sharpe and Pat McAfee as well as Mississippi Auditor Shad White for “defamatory allegations” in connection to the case.
(Video Credit: 16 WAPT News Jackson)
The $77 million welfare fraud scheme has been in the news for a long time and Favre is now taking legal steps to clear his name which has been smeared endlessly over the allegations.
“Shannon Sharpe and Pat McAfee tried to further their careers by making baseless defamatory allegations against Brett Favre,” a spokesperson for Favre told the Daily Mail in an interview.
Sharpe is a Hall of Fame tight end who played with the Broncos and Ravens. He previously called Favre a “sleazeball” and called him a “sorry mofo to steal from the lowest of the low” on his FS1 show back in September. He also accused the 53-year-old former quarterback of knowingly stealing $1.1 million in Mississippi welfare funds in exchange for non-existent speeches.
McAfee is a former Colts punter. He now hosts a SiriusXM podcast that has considerable reach and has accused Favre of “stealing from the poor people of Mississippi.”
In December, the Mississippi Department of Human Services dropped its case against the NFL legend trying to claw back the $1.1 million it previously claimed he owed the state. The agency admitted that Favre had repaid the debt but then slapped him with a demand of $5 million, claiming that he used anti-poverty funds to pay for a volleyball arena at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi.
Quite the plot twist in the "What About Brett Favre" movement. Favre comes out swinging. https://t.co/Ww2GD4ub5M
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) February 10, 2023
You have to be a sorry mofo to steal from the underserved pic.twitter.com/3oIhDABo8P
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) September 14, 2022
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 30, 2022
McAfee made further defamatory claims against Favre.
“Every time his name gets brought up, we have to mention that he tied the hands of the poor people and took money right out of their pockets,” McAfee said, smearing Favre.
“[Favre is] certainly in the middle of stealing from poor people in Mississippi right now,” McAfee also allegedly stated, according to the suit.
Sharpe made other similar accusations, saying that “[Favre] stole money from the people that really needed that money.”
Brett Favre is now suing Pat McAfee and Shannon Sharpe for “defamation” over $77 Million welfare scandal. pic.twitter.com/1bCbiBxCVl
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) February 10, 2023
Favre asserts that White repeatedly misled the public about his involvement in the case.
“Shad White has done a disservice to the people of Mississippi,” Favre’s spokesperson told the Daily Mail. “Here is some free advice for Shad White: do what state auditors are supposed to do — fix the state’s failure to have controls in place to ensure that it properly safeguards the taxpayers’ money, not smear the reputations of private citizens to serve his own personal and political ambitions.”
The defamation suit filed against White on Thursday contends that he claimed Favre knew the money he received from the non-existent speeches came from a non-profit funded by state taxes.
“[W]e know that Mr. Favre not only knew that he was receiving money from this non-profit which was funded by taxpayer dollars,” White told CNN on September 15, 2022, in an interview according to the lawsuit. “We know that the funding for that was a sham, and we know that he knows that too.”
“Today, Brett Favre has sued [Sharpe and McAfee],” the spokesman announced to the Daily Mail. “Mr. Favre has spent his retirement from the NFL focused, on, among other things, helping people suffering from concussions. Sadly, Shannon and Pat have decided to spend their time making false public statements against Brett.”
Favre is seeking damages from all three men, “including compensation for injury to Favre’s character and reputation.” According to the lawsuit, he is also seeking unspecified punitive or exemplary damages.
White spokesman Fletcher Freeman issued a statement to the Daily Mail in response to the lawsuit, “Everything Auditor White has said about this case is true and is backed by years of audit work by the professionals at the Office of the State Auditor. It’s mind-boggling that Mr. Favre wants to have a trial about that question.”
(Video Credit: WJTV 12 News)
“Mr. Favre has called Auditor White and his team liars despite repaying some of the money our office demanded from him. He’s also claimed the auditors are liars despite clear documentary evidence showing he benefitted from misspent funds. Instead of paying New York litigators to try this case, he’d be better off fully repaying the amount of welfare funds he owes the state,” he concluded.
The state of Mississippi is currently suing 38 individuals or organizations to recoup $24 million from the $77 million welfare scheme.
“No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me,” Favre told Fox News in a statement back in October. “I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university.”
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