Brett Favre will give sworn testimony about the Mississippi welfare scandal for the first time in late October, attorneys for the Mississippi Department of Human Services said in a deposition notice filed in court on Monday, Oct. 2.
The filing says Jones Walker LLP “will take the deposition of Brett Lorenzo Favre in accordance with the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure beginning on Thursday, October 26, 2023 beginning at 9:00 a.m. at Hotel Indigo” in Hattiesburg, Miss., where he lives, and that it will continue “from day to day until completed.”
“The deposition will be conducted by oral examination before a court reporter authorized by law to take depositions and administer oaths. The deposition will be recorded by stenographic means. The deposition may be video recorded,” the notice says. A.J. Perez first reported the filing at Front Office Sports.
It is not clear when Favre’s testimony will be public. On Sept. 22, the State moved for the court to adopt a protective order, in agreement with Favre’s attorneys, that would designate all deposition testimony as “Confidential or Highly Confidential” and conceal it from the media and public for 30 days, meaning Favre’s testimony could remain secret until at least late November or early December depending on its completion date. The judge has not yet decided whether or not to issue such an order, however.
Neither federal nor state investigators have accused the retired celebrity NFL star of a crime related to the welfare scandal, but he is among several dozen individuals targeted in MDHS’s civil lawsuit that seeks to claw back millions in misspent funds.
In 2020, Favre paid back $500,000 of a $1.1 million payment he received in Temporary Assistance For Needy Families funds to give motivational speeches and record advertisements. He repaid the other $600,000 after receiving a demand letter from the state auditor’s office in late 2021.
MDHS lawyers are also demanding Favre pay for millions in welfare funds that the since-indicted former MDHS Director John Davis and indicted nonprofit leader Nancy New directed to a volleyball stadium he wanted and toward a concussion drug company he was invested in.
Hundreds of text messages show that Favre sought help from Davis and New.
“If you were to pay me is there anyway (sic) the media can find out where it came from and how much?” the football star asked New in an Aug. 3, 2017, text message after New proposed directing funds toward him as part of an effort to fund the volleyball stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi, where Favre’s daughter was a volleyball athlete at the time.
Favre has denied knowing the money came from welfare funds, and the text messages do not show anyone directly telling him TANF money was involved. The quarterback also sought help from former Gov. Phil Bryant, but the former governor has denied having any role in directing welfare funds to Favre’s projects. Texts Bryant released earlier this year show that Favre and his partner in the drug company, Prevacus, also sought help from then-President Donald Trump.
Text messages the Mississippi Free Press uncovered through a public records request last year show Favre also sought help to get legislative funds for the volleyball project from current Gov. Tate Reeves in early 2020, but there is no evidence that Reeves assisted him. However, text messages Reeves’ office released last month do show that his brother, Todd Reeves, assisted Favre’s efforts to repay the State $500,000 in 2020.