(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis - Copyright 2011 AP. All rights reserved.)
The communications focus on two areas of controversy: the construction of a volleyball facility at USM and state investment in a concussion treatment called Prevacus. Both are linked to NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre.
Following a video statement posted on Wednesday, former Governor Phil Bryant released over 400 pages of texts, emails, and documents. Bryant contends the documents are responsive to subpoenas issued in a civil lawsuit brought by the Mississippi Department of Human Services to recoup improperly spent funds.
Bryant is not a party to the civil litigation and has not been accused of or charged with any wrongdoing related to the ongoing investigation into misspent TANF welfare funds.
The materials released almost all pertain to the construction of the USM Volleyball Center and Prevacus, a concussion treatment. Gov. Bryant’s conversations about both topics appear to have been initiated by NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who features heavily in the produced documents. Additional documents produced relate to fitness bootcamps provided by Paul LaCoste, who is a defendant in the civil litigation.
Bryant initially cited executive privilege and sought to protect the texts from public disclosure. In a video released today, he explained that while he continued to believe the privilege applied, he was sharing the documents with the public.
“Frankly, I’m tired of paying legal fees to respond to lawsuits that I’m not a party to in order to protect my privacy and an executive privilege that should exist for future governors,” Bryant said in the video. “What will be found in these text messages is a busy man, a governor of a state communicating in a kind and consistent matter to everywhere with whom I dealt. I communicated with hundreds of people every week to accomplish good and to help run state government the best way I knew how. As you would expect from someone with extensive communications, in large part my text messages consist of salutations, thumbs up emojis, and will do’s and I’ll check on it, and sounds good, etc.”
Bryant opined that anyone who takes the time to review these messages will find similar consistencies in his communications. He stated that most of the messages, if not all, “that the media wants you to see have already been reported and twisted, and reported again.”
Click here to view the text messages and e-mails that Bryant released.