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Brett Favre hires ex-Trump attorney amid scrutiny over his involvement in welfare fraud scheme 

Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has hired Donald Trump’s former attorney as he continues to fight against allegations of his involvement in a $77million Mississippi welfare fraud scandal.

Favre has signed up Eric Herschmann, the lawyer who represented Trump during his first impeachment trial and was known to be the former President’s senior advisor while in office. 

Herschmann confirmed to Axios, via Front Office Sports, that he is indeed Favre’s lead counsel after his longtime lawyer, Bud Holmes, was relieved of his duties. 

Herschmann was reportedly subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating the events which occurred in Washington DC on January 6, 2021. 

The ex-Green Bay Packer should not be indicted – according to his new attorney – but has a compelling defense if that were to be the case. 

‘I only agreed to represent Brett Favre after I did my independent due diligence and was convinced that he did nothing wrong,’ Herschmann told Axios. 

‘Brett enthusiastically tried to help his alma mater, a public university, that needed and wanted his help.

Brett Favre (above) has hired Donald Trump’s former senior advisor and high-profile attorney

The former President and Favre have been longtime acquaintances and occasional golf pals

The former President and Favre have been longtime acquaintances and occasional golf pals  

‘To be clear, Brett had no idea that welfare funds were being used or that others were involved in illegal conduct,’ 

Favre has not been charged, but has been linked to the scandal to divert $77 million in welfare to various individuals and pet projects, and he personally received $1million speaking gigs that he did not attend.

Although he has repaid the money, he has thus far refused to pay the $228,000 in interest he was charged by the state. Favre claimed last year that he did not know the money he received came from welfare funds. However, a recently surfaced text message from 2017 shows Favre asking nonprofit organizer Nancy New ‘is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?’ 

Holmes told Front Office Sports Thursday that he was no longer representing Favre in the matter. Holmes, who said he was asked to no longer comment on the matter, didn’t know the name of the new lawyer or that lawyer’s firm.

Favre's new lawyer, Eric Herschmann, believes Favre is unlikely to be indicted for his actions

Favre’s new lawyer, Eric Herschmann, believes Favre is unlikely to be indicted for his actions

It was reported last week that Favre’s charity – aimed at helping disadvantaged, disabled children and breast cancer patients – donated more than $130,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation from 2018 to 2020, per recently surfaced tax documents obtained by The Athletic and ESPN.

It was during this time that Favre was working to finance a new volleyball stadium at the school – a project that has fallen under the microscope amid the largest public fraud case in Mississippi history. Recently surfaced text messages show Favre’s alleged efforts to divert $5million in state welfare to the project.

Favre 4 Hope’s mission statement says the organization provides for ‘disadvantaged and disabled children and breast cancer patients,’ but a a sizable portion of donations were used to fund USM sports, according to tax records.

Herschmann represented Trump during his first impeachment trial & was a trusted Trump aide

Herschmann represented Trump during his first impeachment trial & was a trusted Trump aide

In 2018, his foundation gave USM athletics $60,000, while giving $10,000 checks to every other organization it donated to that year. Then, in 2019, the USM Athletic Foundation took in $46,817 from Favre 4 Hope, dwarfing its next-highest gift, an $11,000 donation to the Special Olympics of Mississippi.

Similarly, Favre 4 Hope gave $26,175 to the USM Athletic Foundation in 2020, while limiting other donations to $10,000 or less.  

The donations actually began before Favre’s daughter, Breleigh, enrolled at USM in 2017 (Breleigh ultimately transferred to Louisiana State, where she continued playing volleyball).

From 2011 until 2017, Favre 4 Hope gave USM athletics a total of $47,900, and that doesn’t include 2016, a period from which tax records are not available, according to ESPN.

And Southern Miss wasn’t the only beneficiary.

In 2015, when Favre’s daughter was a volleyball player at Mississippi’s Oak Grove High School, Favre 4 Hope gave $60,000 to the school booster club, according to tax records. Previously, Favre 4 Hope made a $10,000 donation to the boosters.

Favre pictured alongside his daughter, Breleigh, in 2017, before she attended USM

Favre pictured alongside his daughter, Breleigh, in 2017, before she attended USM

Favre is accused of attempting to funnel $5million into the new complex built at his alma mater, Southern Miss, where his daughter was playing volleyball in 2018. That scheme allegedly involved former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Nancy New, who ran a nonprofit in the state and has since pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Text messages purportedly showing Favre, New and Bryant working on the scheme were included in a filing last week. In one from August of 2017, Favre texted New, asking: 'If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?'

Favre is accused of attempting to funnel $5million into the new complex built at his alma mater, Southern Miss, where his daughter was playing volleyball in 2018. That scheme allegedly involved former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Nancy New, who ran a nonprofit in the state and has since pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Text messages purportedly showing Favre, New and Bryant working on the scheme were included in a filing last week. In one from August of 2017, Favre texted New, asking: ‘If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?’

‘He has been very generous to Southern Miss since he played ball there,’ Favre’s now-former attorney Bud Holmes told ESPN. ‘Those particular things [the donations in question] I don’t know, but I know he has always given back, something most athletes don’t do.’

Late last month, it was revealed, first by ESPN, that he tried to get additional cash from the state’s welfare agency in 2019 – two years after funneling millions in welfare to the volleyball arena.

The governor at the time, Republican Phil Bryant, texted in 2019 with Favre, who wanted to build an indoor practice facility for Southern Miss football. Bryant told him federal money for children and low-income adults is ‘tightly controlled’ and ‘improper use could result in violation of Federal Law.’

Text messages between Bryant and Favre are in court documents filed earlier this month by Bryant’s lawyers, who seek to show the governor was willing to help Favre raise private money for the volleyball facility starting in 2017 but was unaware for more than two years that welfare money was going to the project.

Favre’s request for money from the Mississippi Department of Humans Services to fund the football facility went nowhere. Favre made the request July 28, 2019, as he was unsuccessfully trying to recruit the son of another retired NFL player, Deion Sanders, to the university in Hattiesburg. 

Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, texted in 2019 with Favre, who wanted to build an indoor practice facility for Southern Miss football. Bryant told him federal money for children and low-income adults is 'tightly controlled' and 'improper use could result in violation of Federal Law.'

Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, texted in 2019 with Favre, who wanted to build an indoor practice facility for Southern Miss football. Bryant told him federal money for children and low-income adults is ‘tightly controlled’ and ‘improper use could result in violation of Federal Law.’

Mississippi’s largest-ever public corruption case has ensnared several people, including a pro wrestler whose drug rehab was funded with welfare money.

The state has filed a civil lawsuit against Favre and others to recover more than $20million in misspent welfare money intended to help needy people in one of the country’s poorest states. Bryant and Favre are not facing criminal charges, and Bryant is not among those named in the state’s civil lawsuit.

A former director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, John Davis, pleaded guilty last week to federal and state felony charges in a conspiracy to misspend welfare money. Davis was appointed by Bryant in February 2016 and fired by him in July 2019. Davis has agreed to testify against others.

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