Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has been subpoenaed again in a civil lawsuit over a multimillion-dollar benefits fraud scandal, this time lawyers want to see the former governor join forces with former NFL and Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Law Communication between Fowler.
Lawyers for one of the defendants in the Mississippi lawsuit issued subpoenas Friday for Bryant and Favre and other additional documents and communications related to the case, which auditors say caused at least $77 million in damages. Federal benefit funds are misused.
According to the state auditor, the lawsuit stems from an investigation into how the state spends tens of millions of dollars in federal funds aimed at those most in need.
The subpoena was filed by attorneys representing Austin Smith, who is being sued by the state. Smith, the nephew of former Mississippi Department of Human Services Director John Davis, pleaded guilty last month to state and federal charges related to the welfare program.
The state is suing Smith for refunds of more than $425.00 in benefit contracts paid to him by nonprofits that got money from his uncle. Smith’s lawyer said in the filing that he was unaware that the money he received was from the Temporary Assistance Fund for Needy Families.
The Oct. 7 subpoena is part of Smith’s defense, in which his attorneys argue that the state unfairly selects only certain individuals in its massive civil lawsuit to recover stolen funds, noting that he and 37 others And entities were named, but others, like Kobe, were not.
Many of the new, wide-ranging subpoenas focus on texts, documents and other communications related to pharmaceutical company Prevacus and its affiliate PreSolMD.
According to the state’s lawsuit, Favre was “the largest outside investor and holder of company stock” in Prevacus. The former quarterback also sometimes serves as a spokesperson for the concussion medication he manufactures.
The state’s civil lawsuit alleges that in 2018, Favre encouraged Prevacus CEO Jacob VanLandingham “to solicit (nonprofit founder) Nancy New to use MDHS grant proceeds to invest in Prevacus stock.” New has already been convicted in the scheme and agreed to Cooperate with authorities on ongoing investigations.
Over the next year, more than $2 million in benefit funds were transferred to the company “to secure a ‘clinical trial site’ in Mississippi to promote an experimental anti-concussion drug,” but according to the state , but was used to buy Prevacus stock for those participating in the scheme.
A spokesman for Favre declined to comment on the latest filing on Sunday night. Bryant’s attorney did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on Sunday. CNN also left messages for Van Landingham’s attorney and his residence, but neither returned Sunday night.
Reports from Mississippi Today earlier this year revealed text messages obtained by reporter Anna Wolfe between Favre and the then-governor. Kobe and Fife discuss Prevacus. Wolff also reported that texts showed Bryant agreed to a stock option offer days after leaving office, but that came after six people, including New and Davis, were arrested in February 2020 in connection with the benefit program. The former governor severed any ties to the company.
CNN has not independently verified the text messages that appeared in Mississippi Today, but Bryant did give Mississippi Today interviews about the exchanges.
In that interview, Bryant admitted that it “doesn’t look good,” but insisted he was unaware that public money was being used for Prevacus, even though Favre said in a text message to Bryant that Mississippi funded the company. Bryant said he didn’t read his writing carefully and didn’t notice or connect the dots about where the money came from. He insisted in an interview with Mississippi Today that he “never asked for, received or wanted stock in the company.”
Smith’s attorneys, in a subpoena issued Oct. 7, asked for the text between Favre and Bryant to be published in Mississippi Today.
This isn’t the first time a quarterback has been communicated as part of a civil lawsuit related to misuse of welfare funds. Bryant allegedly helped Favre secure funding to build a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to text messages released last month. Favre played football for the school from 1987-1990, where his daughter played volleyball from 2017-2022.
Mississippi Today reported that at least $5 million in welfare funds was used to build a volleyball facility.
None of Favre, VanLandingham and Bryant have been criminally charged in anything related to the matter. Bryant was also not named as a defendant in the state’s civil lawsuit. However, Smith, Van Landingham and Favre are all named as defendants in a large civil lawsuit in the state seeking to recover some of the money misused in the program.