JACKSON, Miss. — Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre will remain as a defendant in a civil lawsuit that seeks to recover millions of dollars of misspent welfare money that was supposed to help some of the neediest people in the U.S., a Mississippi judge ruled Monday.
Circuit Judge Faye Peterson wrote that Favre’s attorneys made “unpersuasive and inapplicable” arguments in seeking to have him removed as one of more than three dozen people or businesses being sued by the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
“Obviously, Brett Favre is disappointed in the court’s ruling,” his spokesman, Alex Pfeiffer, said in a statement Monday. “His legal team is exploring their options.”
Millions of federal welfare dollars for low-income Mississippi residents were squandered on projects supported by wealthy or well-connected people, including projects such as a college volleyball facility backed by Favre, prosecutors say.
No criminal charges have been brought against the NFL Hall of Famer, although other people have pleaded guilty to their part in the misspending.
The Department of Human Services lawsuit says money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program was improperly spent, including on projects Favre supported: $5 million for a volleyball arena at the university where his daughter played the sport and $1.7 million toward development of a concussion treatment drug.
Favre’s attorneys had argued the department is suing Favre, “a Mississippi and national celebrity,” to deflect from its own role in allowing fraud, and they filed multiple sets of papers seeking to have him dismissed from the suit.
State attorneys wrote in March that Favre’s attorneys had given the court “a long press release” rather than legal arguments in trying to get him out of the lawsuit.
Brett Favre to remain defendant in Mississippi civil lawsuit