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Brett Favre is (finally) speaking out on the Mississippi welfare fraud scandal

In a statement to Fox News, he denied allegations that he purposefully misused welfare funds

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) stands on the field during a preseason game against the Houston Texans in 2009.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) stands on the field during a preseason game against the Houston Texans Monday, Aug. 31, 2009 in Houston.

David J. Phillip, Associated Press

After months of watching silently from the sidelines as people speculated about his role in the Mississippi welfare fraud scandal, Brett Favre is speaking out.

He argued that he’s innocent and has been “unjustly” attacked in a new statement provided exclusively to Fox News Digital.

“I have been unjustly smeared in the media,” he said. “I have done nothing wrong, and it is past time to set the record straight.”

Favre has been accused of willfully misusing welfare funds in an effort to benefit his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi. Although he does not yet face criminal charges, he’s named in a civil lawsuit filed earlier this year by the state of Mississippi.

The lawsuit seeks the return of more than $20 million from Favre and dozens of other individuals and businesses, as the Deseret News reported last month.

The civil lawsuit has led to the exposure of multiple text messages between Favre and the former governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant. The two discussed the former NFL quarterback’s need to find more money for the university’s building projects.

“I need your influence somehow to get donations and or sponsorships,” Favre texted Bryant, according to The Associated Press. “Obviously Southern has no money so I’m hustling to get it raised.”

In a different exchange with Nancy New, who ran the nonprofit that directly received the welfare funds from the state and then gave them to Favre, the quarterback appeared concerned that the public would eventually learn the source of the funds.

“‘If you were to pay me is there anyway for the media can find out where it came from and how much?’ Favre asked New in an October 2017 text message,” Fox News reported.

In his new statement, Favre insisted that he was unaware that the money improperly came from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

“No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me. I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center. My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university,” he said.