In October of last year I wrote about the puzzling case involving the then-head of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Jr, his wife, and their strange business dealings with some people, and said that there was clearly something going on behind the scenes. Today comes news that clarifies what was going on and it involves sex and blackmail.
Powerful evangelical leader and close Trump ally Jerry Falwell Jr has said that his wife’s ex-lover tried to blackmail them by contacting the media with “false claims” about their relationship.
Falwell’s statement to the Washington Examiner took place amid his indefinite suspension as head of the conservative evangelical Liberty University, which came several days after he shared a photo of himself with his pants unzipped while aboard a yacht.
In the 1,200 word statement Falwell opened up about the impact of the scandal on his life. “It was like living on a roller coaster,” Falwell said, calling the alleged blackmail attempt a “‘fatal attraction’ type situation”.
In his statement, Falwell described the evolution of his wife’s affair and emotional aftermath – which came to a breaking point amid alleged blackmail threats. Falwell said that he and his wife, Becki, met “an ambitious young man who was working at our hotel and was saving up his money to go to school” during a vacation some eight years ago.
They urged him to pursue an education and career and were “impressed by his initiative in suggesting a local real estate opportunity”. Falwell said his family members invested in a property, including the man in this transaction, believing that he could manage it. Falwell’s family grew close to the man and his family, he claimed.
“Shortly thereafter, Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved – it was nonetheless very upsetting to learn about,” Fallwell said.
Falwell did not name his wife’s lover. But on Monday a former business partner, Giancarlo Granda, gave an interview to Reuters in which he said that he had an affair with Becki Falwell, which involved Jerry Falwell watching them have sex.
Granda denied any attempt at blackmail. “Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda said in the interview.
Granda told Reuters that friendship with the Falwells eventually soured in part because he wanted to dissolve his ties with the couple and fell into a business dispute with them.
The Board of Trustees of Liberty University says they are still evaluating whether to have Falwell continue as president of the university. In these cases, once started, shoes keep dropping like crazy so I think it is safe to assume that their final decision will be a “Hell, no!” Ok, not with the word hell since they are a pious group, but you get the idea.
I notice that Falwell, one of the earliest and most ardent and vocal supporters of Trump in 2016 who brought along other evangelicals with him, is not on the speaker’s list for this week’s Republican convention though he was a featured speaker last time. I wonder why?