“The Rabbit’s Got The Gun Now”: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter Accusing Brett Favre Of Welfare Fraud Is Now Facing Prison Time

The Brett Favre and state of Mississippi welfare fraud scandal has taken another turn. 

Journalist Anna Wolfe won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the ongoing State of Mississippi welfare fraud scandal allegedly involving the Hall of Fame Packers quarterback, that has been going on for a few years now.

Reporter Anne Wolfe Who Broke Mississippi Welfare Fraud Scandal Facing Prison

In a twist of events that challenges a reporter’s right to keep their sources confidential, Wolfe is facing the possibility of having to go to prison after being sued for defamation by former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.

According to NBC News, Wolfe and her editor, Adam Ganucheau, have been ordered by a judge to turn over files containing the names of their confidential sources.

Naturally, they are refusing to do so, claiming that if they did it would go against everything true journalism stands for. 

“If one of us goes to jail, we will be the first person to go to jail in the Mississippi welfare scandal,” Wolfe told NBC News. “How can I make promises to sources that I’m going to keep them confidential if this is possible?”

Wolfe and Ganucheau’s employer, Mississippi Today, is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn it.

However that creates a complex political hurdle to maneuver through because reportedly four of the nine Mississippi Supreme Court judges were appointed by Bryant.

“A former governor of our state — a central subject of our Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporting — filed a motion on Tuesday asking a judge to find our newsroom in contempt of court because we refused to turn over our notes and sources to him,” Ganucheau recently wrote in a New York Times op-ed. 

“Breaching the confidentiality of sources violates one of the most sacred trusts — and breaks one of the most vital tools — in investigative journalism. No serious news organization would agree to this demand.”

Ganucheau continued, “His lawsuit does not challenge the accuracy of the reporting, but Mr. Bryant has made clear he wants everything we’ve got related to our acclaimed investigation that revealed the depths of his involvement in the state’s welfare scandal.

Bryant clearly has some tricks up his sleeve to get Wolfe to reveal her sources, even taunting the reporter through his lawyer who recently said, “The rabbit’s got the gun now,”

Bryant’s latest political maneuver follows Brett Favre, who filed lawsuits against broadcasters Pat McAfee and then Shannon Sharpe in Lamar County, Mississippi, in 2023 for comments implicating him in the scandal.  

Favre Sued Shannon Sharpe

Favre’s lawsuit against Sharpe was removed from state court to federal court so that Sharpe has a better chance of fighting the charges. There is a loophole based on local cases brought against out-of-state residents. Since Sharpe doesn’t live in Mississippi and Favre is seeking more than $750,000 (cases qualify to move from state to federal if the plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000), Sharpe exercised his right to take the case out of the Mississippi state courts and into the federal court system.

So while that’s going on, Favre who still has not been charged with any crimes, refused to turn over his tax returns and objected to all 27 requests from Mississippi Department of Human Services lawyers last October.

So with nothing really resolved as far as Favre’s alleged theft and involvement in this widespread fraud, two prominent members of the journalism community are fighting to stay out of jail and maintain their right to protect their confidential sources

Ganucheau continued: “That scandal featured prominent Mississippi leaders and celebrities who were among those who benefited from at least $77 million in misspent funds — federal grant money intended to help the poorest residents of America’s poorest state.”

According to a October 2023 deposition given by former University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett, Brett Favre promised to fund an entire volleyball arena project for the university.

The deposition was given as part of the civil lawsuit filed against Brett Favre by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS).

Favre, whose own biographer called him “an idiot” last June, has been fighting allegations made against him as part of the welfare funding scandal, “has raised multiple objections to every request,” according to MDHS, citing more than two dozen of them in October.

A attorney for MDHS asked Favre during his December deposition, “Do you know of any reason why Dr. Bennett, now chancellor at University of Nebraska, would lie?” 

“That’s a good question. I don’t. … I have no idea,” Favre replied.

As of now Favre is still free of any charges and this situation is getting soaked with red tape, counter moves and intimidation tactics by powerful people who seem to have something to hide but won’t make it easy on anyone trying to uncover the truth.

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