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Fitch-White Feud Goes Defcon 1

Fitch-White Feud Goes Defcon 1

By: Russ Latino - February 23, 2024

State Auditor Shad White (left) and Attorney General Lynn Fitch (right) speak at the Mississippi Economic Council in Jackson, Miss., Oct. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

  • Attorney General Lynn Fitch petitioned a court to prevent State Auditor Shad White from filing a counterclaim on behalf of the state in Brett Favre’s defamation case against White, prompting a war of words between the pair.

In 49 B.C. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River into Italy with his army, an act which forever became synonymous with going past the point of no return. In the Year of Our Lord 2024, Attorney General Lynn Fitch and Auditor Shad White are competing over who gets to be Caesar the Conqueror and who will play the part of the feckless Roman Senate.

In the latest round of an escalating feud between the two would-be candidates for governor, Fitch filed a petition Thursday to prevent White from pursuing a counterclaim against Brett Favre on behalf of the state in a defamation case filed by Favre against White.

The legal action, by itself, was not the Rubicon. The ensuing war of words? Different story. Fitch accused White of hampering the state’s TANF investigation, progress toward recouping funds in civil litigation, “as well as potential criminal prosecutions.” She said “the actions of the Auditor’s office are aid to our legal adversaries and a disservice to the people.”

White fired back on X (like Twitter, but with more obscene bots): “Fitch failed to sue Favre for everything he owes—and then sued to stop me from trying to get the money back, too. Just let me do the job, even if you won’t.”

But let me back up and get you up to speed. Perhaps you’ve seen the Always Sunny in Philadelphia “Charlie Day conspiracy meme” (pictured below). That’s how the legal wrangling arising out of the TANF welfare scandal is starting to feel.

First, some people ripped off Mississippi’s TANF program. Not good.

White investigated and teamed up with Hinds County District attorney Jody Owens to announce some prosecutions. Justice. The FBI and federal prosecutors got involved. More justice.

Then the state thought to itself, “perhaps we should try to get some of the money back that we think was misspent.” Ready civil lawsuit against four dozen defendants. One of those defendants was Brett Lorenzo Favre, star of “There’s Something About Mary” and famous New York Jets quarterback.

White picked a fight with Favre — a verbal one, because he’s about a buck-forty and Harvard smart. Favre sued White for defamation, along with Shannon Sharpe and the guy who wears “wife beaters” on ESPN College Gameday (Pat McAfee for the uninitiated). Attorney General Fitch was representing White in that lawsuit until she got ahold of a book White wrote about the whole sordid mess and took note of mean things White said about her office.

She withdrew the Attorney General’s defense of White in the defamation case.

White assumed his own defense and promptly countersued Favre for fees and interest the NFL gunslinger was allegedly paid by TANF conspirator Nancy New for some radio ads and public appearances. White contends that the pending state civil case essentially had elected not to go after these funds and that they are still owed to the state.

Cue today’s fireworks. Favre, no doubt, pulled out one of those folding chairs, put on his best Copper Fit knee brace, and grabbed some popcorn to watch the festivities. Because if you are Favre there’s probably nothing better than watching two people who have gone after you stop for a moment to tear each other apart.

Never enough Copper Fit. Jerry Rice/Instagram

Other spectators could include Delbert Hosemann, Michael Watson, Andy Gipson and whoever else might be eyeing 2027. Below are Fitch’s full statement and White’s tweet.

About the Author(s)
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Russ Latino

Russ is a proud Mississippian and the founder of Magnolia Tribune Institute. His research and writing have been published across the country in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, National Review, USA Today, The Hill, and The Washington Examiner, among other prominent publications. Russ has served as a national spokesman with outlets like Politico and Bloomberg. He has frequently been called on by both the media and decisionmakers to provide public policy analysis and testimony. In founding Magnolia Tribune Institute, he seeks to build on more than a decade of organizational leadership and communications experience to ensure Mississippians have access to news they can trust and opinion that makes them think deeply. Prior to beginning his non-profit career, Russ practiced business and constitutional law for a decade. Email Russ:
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