Jerry Falwell Jr. has given a statement to Fox News’ Todd Starnes to deny the allegations that former Trump fixer Michael Cohen had helped him resolve an “embarrassing” scandal that involved “racy personal” photos.
According to Reuters, Falwell was being blackmailed by someone who had graphic pictures of him and/or his wife, possibly a pool boy they had a close relationship with. And they have a recording of Cohen telling actor Tom Arnold all the details.
Falwell, the president of the evangelical Liberty University and one of America’s best known anti-LGBTQ activists, was one of Trump’s earliest and most loyal supporters, vouching for the reality TV star’s Christian credibility during the Republican primary.
In the recorded conversation, Cohen told Arnold that Falwell asked him a personal favor: deal with someone who had sexual pictures that could prove embarrassing. Cohen said that someone had somehow come into possession of “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” of Falwell, which he described as the kind usually kept “between husband and wife.”
“I actually have one of the photos,” Cohen said during the conversation. “It’s terrible.”
The person who had them was demanding money to keep them from being made public. Cohen flew down to Florida to talk to the lawyer of the person with the photos and threatened legal action.
While the identity of the possessor of the photos has not been revealed, that person lived in the same state as Giancarlo Granda, an attractive young pool attendant involved in a legal dispute with the Falwells.
The suit alleges that the Rebecca and Jerry Falwell met Giancarlo Granda while on vacation in Miami. The then-21-year-old Granda was a “pool attendant” at the luxury hotel where they were staying.
Shortly after meeting, the the evangelical leader “indicated that he wanted to help Granda establish a new career and build a business,” Buzzfeed News reported earlier this year. So they bought him a youth hostel that cost almost $5 million.
Multiple affidavits filed with the lawsuit quote real estate agents who say “he was looking to purchase a business in order to provide a source of income to Giancarlo Granda.”
After news of the lawsuit went viral, users speculated on what had spawned the curious relationship between the religious right power couple and the attractive young pool boy. The lawsuit does not allege that the Falwells had a sexual relationship with Granda.
“This report is not accurate,” Falwell said during an appearance on the Todd Starnes Radio Show after news of Cohen’s claim surfaced. “There are no compromising or embarrassing photos of me.”
“While we have a long-standing friendship with Michael Cohen, we never engaged or paid Cohen to represent us in any legal or other professional capacity, and Cohen did not ever resolve any legal matter on our behalf,” Falwell said.
Falwell did not mention any potential photos of his wife or any other person. The alleged blackmailer’s lawyer told Cohen the photos had been destroyed. Cohen also did not say he had represented the couple professionally, just that he had “helped them out.”
Six months after the Falwells met Granda, they flew him on a private jet to Virginia to meet Donald Trump when the President visited Liberty University. The religious school was founded by Falwell’s father, televangelist Jerry Falwell, and is currently run by Falwell Jr.
Michael Cohen, who just pled guilty to multiple crimes and has implicated the President in campaign finance crimes, was instrumental in getting Falwell to endorse Trump.
It would be wildly irresponsible to speculate that Falwell took pics of the pool boy doing his wife, with their consent, because he has a cuckold fetish. Wildly, wildly irresponsible.
— Gary Legum (@GaryLegum) May 7, 2019