Governor Bryant’s Statement in Advance of Release of Communications
Former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant issued the attached video statement in advance of his release of his communications that have been requested by defendants in a civil case. Governor Bryant is not a party to any of these lawsuits.
The funding of the Wellness Center or Volleyball Center at the University of Southern Mississippi has been the subject of an audit and a lawsuit filed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services. In July 2019, defendant Mississippi Community Education Center subpoenaed Bryant seeking documents related to the USM Volleyball Center. Bryant, on the advice of counsel, invoked certain privileges related to the documents to preserve those privileges. Shortly thereafter, another defendant, Austin Smith, subpoenaed Bryant requesting additional documents. Bryant again cited privilege and other objections. The media, who is not a party to the lawsuit, responded to these objections in March by filing a motion asking the court for the opportunity to intervene and require Governor Bryant, who is also not a party to the lawsuit, to disclose his communications related to the USM Volleyball Center. Bryant is required to respond to such motions and therefore incur legal fees for a lawsuit to which he is not a party. While Governor Bryant has a right to claim the executive privilege and to object to the disclosure of these communications, he decided to waive those arguments and disclose the documents responsive to both subpoenas which are currently in his possession.
The file of the text messages and e-mails will be made available on this website on Thursday, May 4 at 5 p.m.