Brett Favre will not give sworn testimony about the Mississippi welfare scandal this month after the Mississippi Department of Human Services notified the Hinds County Circuit Court that it has rescheduled his planned deposition for December instead. Favre’s lawyers and the State requested the change.
“Please take notice that at the request of counsel for Brett Favre, Plaintiff, Mississippi Department of Human Services by and through their attorneys of record, Jones Walker LLP, is re-noticing the deposition of Brett Lorenzo Favre in accordance with the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure beginning on Monday, December 11, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. CST at a location to be agreed on in the future and continuing from day to day until completed,” MDHS’s Oct. 6 court filing says. “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 State did not give a reason for rescheduling Favre’s testimony. Previously, on Oct. 2, MDHS notified the court that it would depose Brett Favre at Hotel Indigo in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Oct. 26—just 12 days before the Nov. 7 statewide elections. The welfare scandal has been a central issue in the campaign for governor and other races.
The State and Favre’s attorneys previously motioned on Sept. 22 for the court to adopt a protective order that would have designated all deposition testimony as “Confidential or Highly Confidential” and would have concealed it from the media and public for 30 days. That would’ve kept Favre’s testimony secret until after the election, but the judge has not yet ruled on whether to adopt the protective order. If she does, Favre’s testimony could remain under seal until mid-January 2024.
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.