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Law

Brett Favre Sues Shannon Sharpe, Pat McAfee for Defamation

  • Favre's attorneys filled a third defamation lawsuit against Mississippi State Auditor Shad White.
  • Each was asked to 'retract and apologize for [their] defamatory statements.'
Brett Favre sues Shannon Sharpe, Pat McAfee, and Mississippi State Auditor Shad White .
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Favre filed defamation lawsuits against Shannon Sharpe, Pat McAfee, and Mississippi State Auditor Shad White over allegations they made “false and defamatory statements” related to the former Hall of Famer’s ties to the Mississippi welfare scandal.

The three lawsuits obtained by Front Office Sports were filed in two different Mississippi county courts on Thursday, each seeking unspecified monetary damages. 

According to the lawsuits, each defendant was asked to “retract and apologize for [their] defamatory statements and cease and desist from making further defamatory falsehoods against Favre. Each “failed to do so,” according to the complaints. 

Favre has been linked to about $8 million in misspent welfare funds. He’s repaid the $1.1 million he received for speaking engagements — which he did not perform — and is among the defendants in a lawsuit filed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services

“A lot of people are wondering how my lawyers are going to handle this, [but] I ain’t got um,” McAfee said on his show on Friday. ” So, let’s ride this [expletive]. I’m excited to see how it goes. I’ll see you in court pal.”

The Daily Mail was the first outlet to report 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,” Fletcher Freeman, spokesperson for the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor, said in a statement. “It’s mind-boggling that Mr. Favre wants to have a trial about that question.

“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 benefited 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.”

Favre has not been charged and denied he knew the money that went to him. His pet projects — a pharma company that developed a concussion treatment and volleyball center at his alma mater, Southern Mississippi — came from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. 

“Favre is a public figure, and he needs to prove actual malice on the part of White, Sharpe, and McAfee,” Federal criminal defense attorney Matt Tympanick told FOS. “It is definitely a very steep, uphill battle for Favre as he would have to prove White, Sharpe, and McAfee knew the allegations about Favre were false when they made them.

“Remember, truth is an absolute defense to defamation, and I expect that White, McAfee, and Sharpe will argue that the allegations are true and/or they didn’t know the allegations were false.”

According to the McAfee lawsuit, McAfee said on his popular show in November that Favre was  “steal[ing] from the poor,” “[taking] money right out of their pockets,” and “stealing from poor people in Mississippi.” 

McAfee said he received two letters from Favre’s lawyers. In the first, Favre’s legal team asked him to delete any show — on every platform the archive resides — that mentioned Favre.

“I looked at that and thought that was hilarious,” McAfee said. “Of course, we aren’t doing that.”

The second letter gave McAfee until Wednesday night to make an apology to Favre, along with enough deleting those episodes as the first letter requested.

In September, Sharpe said on FS1’s “Undisputed” that Favre was “steal[ing] from the lowest of the low,” “ taking from the underserved [in Mississippi],” and that “[Favre] stole money from people that really needed that money,” according to the Sharpe lawsuit.

In his media appearances, White has made egregiously false and defamatory statements accusing Favre of steal[ing] taxpayer funds” and knowingly misusing funds “designed to serve poor folks,” according to the White complaint. 

Read the Complaints

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