Saturday September 30, 2023

Pat McAfee’s Lawyers File Motion to Dismiss Brett Favre Lawsuit

  • A week after defamation case was moved to federal court, McAfee's lawyers file a motion to dismiss.
  • McAfee's attorneys call Favre's lawsuit 'meritless.'
Pat McAfee
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Attorneys for Pat McAfee filed a motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit filed last month by Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.

The Friday filing comes a week after McAfee’s legal team successfully moved the case from a Mississippi county court to federal court. Favre sued McAfee, FS1’s Shannon Sharpe, and Mississippi State Auditor Shad White for defamation over comments each made over Favre’s  links to the Mississippi welfare scandal. 

“In meritless cases like this one, there is a powerful interest in ensuring that free speech is not unduly burdened by the necessity of defending against expensive, baseless litigation,” McAfee’s attorneys wrote. “As a public figure bringing suit against a media defendant for reporting on matters of public concern, which are the subject of official proceedings and detailed at length in public records, Favre cannot state a claim for defamation upon which relief can be granted.”

The motion aims at Favre’s status as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) as the agency seeks to recoup at least $77 million in misspent welfare funds. 

Favre is linked to about $8 million of those funds. He’s repaid $1.1 million for speaking fees for appearances he allegedly did not perform. Favre has denied knowing the source of the funds came from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. 

Beyond the speeches, Favre also allegedly lobbied for about $5 million of TANF funds for a volleyball center at Southern Miss and about $2 million that went to a pharmaceutical company he invested in. 

“The Mississippi welfare fraud scandal, as it has become publicly known, and specifically the MDHS lawsuit and Favre’s involvement, has been the subject of intense public scrutiny and media attention for nearly three years,” McAfee’s lawyers wrote. “Favre’s attempt now to deflect attention away from MDHS’s highly publicized claims against him and to silence media defendants from reporting on such claims should not be countenanced.

“Favre’s Complaint ignores the MDHS Lawsuit entirely, and instead attempts to paint Favre as the defamed victim of two cherry-picked statements and a tweet allegedly made by comedic sports analyst and broadcaster Pat McAfee.”

Sharpe, whose lawsuit was also removed to the same federal court in Mississippi earlier this month, is also expected to file a motion to dismiss.  

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