Pat McAfee moves to DISMISS Brett Favre’s ‘joke’ defamation lawsuit
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Pat McAfee has filed a motion to dismiss Brett Favre’s federal defamation lawsuit against the YouTube host.
McAfee, a former NFL punter-turned-sports media personality, was sued by the Packers legend over statements made on his talk show about Favre’s involvement in a $77 million welfare fraud scheme in Mississippi.
Favre has not been charged with a crime in the case, but did receive $1.1 million in federal welfare funding, which he then used on a series of personal projects, such as a volleyball gym at his alma mater, Southern Miss, where his daughter played the sport at the time.
‘Hello beautiful people,’ McAfee announced in a lengthy Twitter post. ‘As of a few moments ago, I have filed for the dismissal of Brett Favre’s defamation lawsuit against me in a Federal Court in the fine state of Mississippi… From the very beginning I thought the lawsuit against me was a joke.’
McAfee ended his tweet on Friday by referencing the allegations against Favre: ‘Cheers to everybody, and let’s remember to take care of each other… and not allegedly, reportedly steal from those who need it most…’
Pat McAfee (left) has filed a motion to dismiss Brett Favre’s federal defamation lawsuit
Pat McAfee’s motion to dismiss claims Favre is attempting to deflect from accusations
Also included in McAfee’s announcement was a challenge to Favre: ‘Brett, match me with a donation to a Big Brothers Big Sisters foundation in Mississippi. Let’s help out the next generation of Mississippians together. Let’s give some support to the citizens of your state who might need it a little bit, and let’s make something positive out of this sad clown show of a defamation suit with no merit.’
Specifically, McAfee’s lawyers are arguing that Favre’s complaint falls short of alleging actual malice, which is a necessary component in a defamation lawsuit involving a plaintiff who is a public figure. Furthermore, according to Friday’s motion, Favre did not provide McAfee with 10 days’ notice before filing his lawsuit.
Also, Favre’s lawsuit doesn’t cite any incorrect statements made by McAfee; nor does it claim that the YouTube host published unprivileged false facts, according to Friday’s motion.
Favre filed defamation lawsuits against two former NFL players-turned media personalities – Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe and McAfee – as well as Mississippi Auditor Shad White over allegations he knowingly used welfare funds on those personal projects.
Sharpe called Favre a ‘sleazeball’ on his FS1 show in September while accusing the retired quarterback of knowingly stealing $1.1 million in Mississippi welfare funds in exchange for speeches that he never made. McAfee accused him of ‘stealing from the poor people of Mississippi,’ while White claimed Favre knew the origin of the welfare funds.
Favre used welfare funds to help pay for a volleyball gym at Southern Miss, his alma mater
Favre has not been charged in the $77 million welfare fraud case, which has already resulted in several guilty pleas, and he has repaid the $1.1 million he received for no-show speaking gigs and radio ads.
However, in December, Mississippi issued a new $5million demand as part of its lawsuit against Favre, saying he used anti-poverty funds to pay for the volleyball arena.
Earlier this month, Mississippi’s Department of Human Services directed a state judge to ignore Favre’s request to be removed from the civil suit that seeks to recover the misspent welfare money.
The scandal is Mississippi’s largest-ever public corruption case, and involves millions in federal welfare being squandered on projects supported by some of the state’s wealthiest and well-connected citizens, including Favre.
Favre’s attorneys, including former Donald Trump lawyer Eric Herschmann, have argued that the Department of Human Services is suing their client to deflect from their own negligence for failing to catch the fraud as it occurred. Favre’s defense team has filed a pair of requests urging the judge to dismiss Favre.
Shannon Sharpe (right), who co-hosts a talk show on FS1, has remained mostly silent about Favre’s lawsuit, but Shad White (left) attacked the Hall of Fame quarterback earlier this month
McAfee made a similar counterclaim in his motion to dismiss, arguing that it is Favre who is attempting to deflect.
‘Favre’s attempt now to deflect attention away from [Mississippi Department of Human Services’] highly publicized claims against him and to silence media defendants from reporting on such claims should not be countenanced,’ read McAfee’s motion, filed Friday in federal court.
McAfee wrote in his tweet that he is confident the lawsuit will be dismissed, but added that he and his legal team are ‘very ready and prepared for the next steps in court.’
Sharpe, who co-hosts a talk show on FS1, has remained mostly silent about Favre’s lawsuit, but White attacked the Hall of Fame quarterback earlier this month, claiming that text messages prove he knew the origin of the funds he received.
‘Will the public perception be that I became a spokesperson for various state funded shelters, schools, homes, etc. … and was compensated with state money?’ Favre asked in the text message included in the Mississippi filing and provided to DailyMail.com. ‘Or can we keep this confidential.’
As White explained in a Twitter thread on Monday, the text messages are significant because they purportedly show Favre ‘knew he was receiving ”grant” money intended to benefit people in ”state funded shelters, schools, homes, etc.”
‘In other words,’ White wrote, ‘the poor.’
Although Favre hasn’t been charged, White made it clear he thinks Favre knew about the funds
Herschmann, a former Donald Trump advisor who testified against the former President to Congress’ January 6 committee, told podcaster Jason Whitlock in February that Favre’s defamation lawsuit against McAfee will result in penalty of ‘millions of dollars.’
‘If it bankrupts him then he will have learned his lesson about you don’t try to promote yourself by inappropriately and improperly attacking somebody else,’ Herschmann told Whitlock.
Herschmann denied that his client knew the money he received came from funding intended for some of the poorest people in Mississippi.
‘Brett did not steal from the poor,’ Herschmann told Whitlock. ‘He didn’t do it. And the idea that somebody who’s given as much to Mississippi as Brett has given over the years, and has contributed as much and as helped as much as he can, the idea that he would do that is really unfathomable.’
The former Southern Mississippi star is seeking nominal and general damages from all three, ‘including compensation for injury to Favre’s character and reputation.’ He is also seeking unspecified punitive or exemplary damages.
Previously unearthed text messages from 2017 revealed Favre’s perceived efforts to divert $5 million in welfare to a new volleyball arena for the University of Southern Mississippi. In one text, Favre wondered: ‘Is there anyway (sic) the media can find out where [the money] came from and how much?’
But speaking with Whitlock, Herschmann claimed the text messages had ‘nothing to do with the volleyball facility.’
‘Brett Favre was asked to do some promotional videos, and he was getting paid by a not-for-profit,’ Herschmann claimed to Whitlock. ‘So, like most celebrities, they prefer that when they get paid from various sources it’s not disclosed – and especially they don’t want it out there for not-for-profits. That had zero to do with anything else.
‘He did work and got paid for that work.’
In some texts, Favre appeared concerned that the public would learn about the scheme
Herschmann also addressed the lawsuit against Sharpe, whom he claims was warned to apologize for his claims about Favre before being sued.
‘So Shannon had a choice,’ Herschmann said. ‘The choice was real simple: ”Maybe you got worked up on your show. You had a chance to retract it. You didn’t, now you can try to defend it in court.”
‘And we’ll find out pretty soon who’s telling the truth and who isn’t.’
As for McAfee, Herschmann insists the YouTube host was aware of Favre’s denials, but directed attacks against the 53-year-old retiree anyway.
‘It’s obvious when you listen to Pat McAfee he never read any of the complaints, he didn’t read the motion to dismiss,’ Herschmann said. ‘He just decided to get on his show and get as much attention as he could.’
Source: DailyMail UK