One month ago, Pat McAfee filed a motion to dismiss Brett Favre’s defamation lawsuit against him, citing that it failed to properly allege that McAfee acted with “actual malice.” Favre responded by filing an amended defamation lawsuit against The Pat McAfee Show host two weeks ago, including claims of actual malice. Now, McAfee has filed a motion to dismiss that amended lawsuit.
On Friday, McAfee asked a Mississippi federal court to throw out Favre’s defamation claims against him on the grounds that the former NFL quarterback still hasn’t shown that McAfee acted with malice when he discussed Favre’s alleged ties to a Mississippi welfare fraud scandal.
McAfee says in his motion that he “had no personal knowledge of any of the relevant facts” and was just reporting on allegations against Favre. In light of the “abundant public allegations” against the Hall of Fame quarterback Favre “has not — and, plainly, cannot — plead actual malice,” per McAfee, who says that the Green Bay Packers legend “cherry-picked” statements that McAfee made in order to paint himself as the victim.
“In meritless cases like this one, there is a powerful interest in ensuring free speech is not unduly burdened by the necessity of defending against expensive, baseless litigation,” McAfee argued in his motion.
During a November 30, 2022, episode of The Pat McAfee Show, the host said that Favre was “stealing from poor people in Mississippi” and taking “money right out of their pockets.”
Favre had not been charged criminally but he was named in a civil suit filed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services over his alleged involvement to divert $3.2 million in welfare funds to himself, a for-profit biotech company, and a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi. His motion to dismiss that case was denied.
Favre has denied any knowledge that he was aware of the welfare money’s intended purpose. Mississippi Today’s reporting has included text messages from him as well as then-Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant that seem to imply a different story.
McAfee says in his motion that Favre has been the subject of “intense public scrutiny and media attention” for multiple years and is now trying to “deflect attention away from MDHS’ highly publicized claims against him and to silence media defendants from reporting on such claims.”
Favre is also suing Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe and Mississippi State Auditor Shad White for defamation as well.