Thursday December 7, 2023

Brett Favre to Give First Sworn Testimony in Mississippi Welfare Case

  • The state welfare agency will depose Favre on Dec. 11 as part of its civil case over misspent welfare funds.
  • Earlier this year, Favre’s attorneys said Favre “does not intend to invoke the Fifth Amendment.”
Brett Favre
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
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Editor’s note: This story was updated after a new deposition date was scheduled.

Brett Favre will give his first testimony over his alleged role in the Mississippi welfare scandal in December.

According to a court filing in the civil case brought by the Mississippi Department of Human Services over millions in misspent welfare funds, the Hall of Fame quarterback will undergo a deposition under oath on Dec. 11.

“Brett Favre better tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, federal criminal defense attorney Matt Tympanick told Front Office Sports. “Otherwise, he can add perjury to his long list of potential charges.”

The deposition was originally scheduled for Oct. 26, but a new filing on Friday set the December date. No explanation was given for the changed date, and a lawyer representing the MDHS declined comment citing the gag order in the case.

Favre has long denied he knew the source of the roughly $8 million that MDHS claims went to him, the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation, and a drug company where Favre was the largest investor originated from federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds.

In a court filing earlier this year, Favre’s attorneys said their client “does not intend to invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”

“It would be my advice to invoke it in this matter,” Tympanick said. “Any statement he makes could potentially be used as impeachment evidence in a potential criminal case.”

A court reporter will log Favre’s testimony, although MDHS and some of the more than 40 defendants in the case — including Favre — have sought to keep depositions and other sensitive information under seal as the case progresses to trial. 

A trial date has yet to be set. 

Favre’s legal team sought to get Favre dismissed as a defendant in the case, motions that Hinds County Circuit Court Judge E. Faye Peterson denied. In August, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Peterson’s decision to deny Favre’s motion to dismiss. 

Court documents released over the past year have established a connection between Favre and the largest public corruption scandal in Mississippi history, primarily through text messages.

“If you were to pay me, is there anyway [sic] the media can find out where it came from and how much?” Favre wrote in a text to Nancy New in August 2017.

Court filings indicate that Nancy New, the former head of a nonprofit through which the TANF funds were funneled, along with Favre, the Southern Miss Athletic Foundation, and the pharmaceutical company Prevacus, were all connected to the situation.

New, her son, Zach New, and the former head of MDHS, John Davis, pleaded guilty to state and federal charges related to the scheme. The three are also defendants in the MDHS civil case. 

Favre has not faced criminal charges, nor has Jake VanLandingham, the founder of Prevacus. Prevacus, which sought to develop two concussion products, received $1.7 million in TANF funds, according to court filings. 

“I believe if it’s possible she and John Davis would use federal grant money for Prevacus,” Favre said in a December 2018 text

Former University of Southern Mississippi president Rodney Bennett will sit for a deposition on Oct. 31. According to court filings, the Southern Miss Athletic Foundation received $5 million toward a new volleyball center at the school, where Favre’s daughter played the sport at the time. 

Favre also received $1.1 million in speaking fees, appearances he allegedly did not perform. He repaid the money, which also originated from TANF funds.

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