Brett Favre is asking an appeals court docket to reinstate his defamation lawsuit in opposition to Shannon Sharpe TERMAN WEBSITE

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Attorneys for retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre requested a federal appeals court docket Tuesday to revive a defamation lawsuit Favre filed in opposition to a fellow Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame member, former tight finish Shannon Sharpe, amid the backdrop of a Mississippi welfare scandal that is among the state’s largest public corruption circumstances.

A federal choose in Mississippi threw out the lawsuit in October, saying Sharpe used constitutionally protected speech on a sports activities broadcast when he criticized Favre’s connection to the welfare misspending case.

Favre’s lawyer, Amit Vora, informed three fifth U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals judges in New Orleans that the lawsuit needs to be revived, arguing that Sharpe accused Favre, who has not been charged with a criminal offense, of theft.

Sharpe mentioned throughout a September 2022 broadcast of the Fox Sports activities present “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” that Favre was “taking from the underserved,” that he “stole cash from individuals that actually wanted that cash” and that somebody must be a sorry particular person “to steal from the bottom of the low.”

“That’s actionable defamation, as a result of that cheap listener is taking the phrase steal actually and never figuratively,” Vora mentioned.

Sharpe’s lawyer, Joseph Terry, informed the judges that Sharpe’s remarks had been clearly an opinion provided when he was requested a few information report on the Mississippi welfare scandal and the way the studies will have an effect on Favre’s legacy.

“If you happen to learn his feedback in context, it’s fairly clear that he was expressing his opinions rhetorically,” Terry mentioned.

The panel gave no indication when it might rule.

Mississippi State Auditor Shad White has mentioned that from 2016 to 2019, the Mississippi Division of Human Companies misspent greater than $77 million from the Short-term Help for Needy Households program — funds meant to assist a few of the poorest individuals within the U.S.

Amongst White’s findings was that Favre improperly acquired $1.1 million in talking charges from a nonprofit group that spent TANF cash with approval from the Division of Human Companies. The cash was to go towards a $5 million volleyball enviornment at The College of Southern Mississippi, which he attended and the place his daughter was taking part in the game.

Favre has paid again $1.1 million, however White mentioned in a February court docket submitting that the previous quarterback nonetheless owes $729,790 as a result of curiosity brought on development within the unique quantity he owed.

Favre, who lives in Mississippi, has denied wrongdoing and isn’t going through felony prices. He’s amongst greater than three dozen individuals or corporations being sued by the state Division of Human Companies.

U.S. District Decide Keith Starrett’s October ruling mentioned Sharpe’s remarks concerning the case had been constitutionally protected “rhetorical hyperbole.”

“Right here, no cheap particular person listening to the Broadcast would suppose that Favre really went into the properties of poor individuals and took their cash — that he dedicated the crime of theft/larceny in opposition to any specific poor particular person in Mississippi,” Starrett wrote.

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Related Press author Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this report.

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