Mississippi fires attorney investigating welfare fraud case

The state welfare department has fired Brad Pigott, the former U.S. attorney it contracted to claw back millions in misspent federal funds from dozens of people in Mississippi’s sprawling welfare scandal.

The termination comes about a week after Pigott filed a subpoena on the University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation for its communication with several notable people, including former Gov. Phil Bryant, to get to the bottom of why it received $5 million in welfare funds to build a volleyball stadium.

“All I did, and I believe all that caused me to be terminated from representing the department or having anything to do with the litigation, was to try to get the truth about all of that,” Pigott told Mississippi Today hours after his firing on Friday. “People are going to go to jail over this, at least the state should be willing to find out the truth of what happened.”

Attorney Brad Pigott is shown in this 2016 photo.

It is unclear how Pigott’s termination will affect the welfare agency’s civil lawsuit, which promised to probe players in the welfare scheme and answer questions that current criminal proceedings wouldn’t. Just last week, Pigott had scheduled depositions with key players in the scheme, including former NFL quarterback Brett Favre.

Pigott said he was not given a reason for his termination, but that Mississippi Department of Human Services officials told him it was not related to the quality of his legal work.

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