Brett Favre will testify under oath in Mississippi welfare scandal civil case

FILE - Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre speaks with reporters prior to his induction to the...
FILE - Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre speaks with reporters prior to his induction to the Mississippi Hall of Fame, Aug. 1, 2015, in Jackson, Miss. Favre will answer questions under oath about the misspending of federal welfare money in Mississippi, where public money intended to help some of the nation’s poorest people was used to fund pet projects he and other well-connected people supported. A notice of deposition filed Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, by attorneys for Mississippi's Department of Human Services shows Favre will give sworn testimony on Oct. 26.(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 1:39 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2023 at 3:05 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre will answer questions under oath about the misspending of federal welfare money in Mississippi, where public money intended to help some of the nation’s poorest people was used to fund pet projects he and other well-connected people supported.

A notice of deposition filed Monday in Hinds County Circuit Court by attorneys for Mississippi’s Department of Human Services shows Favre will give sworn testimony on Oct. 26 at a hotel in Hattiesburg. The Pro Football Hall of Famer is among more than three dozen defendants in a lawsuit the current Human Services director filed to recover some of the welfare money.

Favre has denied wrongdoing, sued the state auditor who investigated the misspending for defamation and said he paid back misspent welfare funds.

Mississippi has ranked among the poorest states in the U.S. for decades, but only a fraction of its federal welfare money has been going toward direct aid to families. Instead, the Mississippi Department of Human Services allowed well-connected people to fritter away $77 million in federal welfare funds from 2016 to 2019, according to the state auditor and state and federal prosecutors.

Instead of going to needy families, about $5 million helped fund a volleyball arena that Favre supported at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, said Mississippi Auditor Shad White, whose office investigated the scandal. Favre’s daughter played volleyball at the school. Another $1.7 million went to the development of a concussion treatment drug, a project Favre supported.

No criminal charges have been brought against Favre, although a former department director and other people have pleaded guilty to their part in the misspending. Favre has asked the Hinds County Circuit Court and the Mississippi Supreme Court to remove him as a defendant in the civil lawsuit, but both requests were denied.

The deposition will be conducted by oral examination before a court reporter and may be video-recorded. A confidentiality order approved by the court would keep all of the testimony private for at least 30 days after its completion date, court records show.

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Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow him at @mikergoldberg.