Falwell resigns as president of Liberty University

The growing scandal by the evangelical leader, who is tight with president Donald Trump, reveals he may be more like Trump's sordid sexual history than most realized.
Jerry Falwell, Jr. (C), his wife Becki Falwell and Giancarlo Granda

After backing away from a resignation he agreed to submit Monday, Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed Tuesday he has resigned as president and from the board of one of the largest Christians colleges in the world.

Jerry Falwell Jr’s world as an evangelical leader sank into the toxic swamp that has become his life, along with a philandering wife and outright apathy towards the religious evangelical fundamentalism he proclaimed but didn’t practice.

In tense negotiations Monday with university leaders that want him gone from his presidency of Liberty, a source within the school said he was resigning, but then Falwell announced his is not while his “public relations team’ is saying nothing.

A press release from the University said Falwell was resigning immediately, but then he said his attorney told him to withhold the letter of resignation.

“I have not resigned,” he told Politico. “I will be on indefinite leave.”

As reality set in on Tuesday as the university’s executive discussed his future with the board, Falwell ended his holdout and submitted his resignation, effective immediately.

The latest news came after a weekend where Falwell told The Washington Examiner that his wife, Becki, had a prolonged sexual affair with a former pool boy who is also a business partner in Miami and who he says is now “blackmailing” him.

The pool boy, Giancarlo Granda, admits an affair that he say continued from 2012 to 2018 but denies any attempts to blackmail the couple who helped set him up with a hostel and other business operations in South Miami.

““Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda, 29, told Reuters news service in an article released Monday. He says he and Falwell’s wife, hooked up “multiple times per years” at New York and Miami hotels and at the couple’s home in Lynchburg.

Falwell denies he ever watched his wife and Granda having sex. “Becki had an inappropriate personal relationship with this person, something in which I was not involved,” he told The Washington Examiner.

“I met Jerry and Becki Falwell as a 20-year-old working my way through college at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. Becki and I developed an intimate relationship that went on from 2012 and through 2019 in which Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda told Politico in an email.

“He enjoyed watching us in person and also remotely through video cameras. He also listened to our phone calls,” Granda said in his statement to Reuters.

Michael Cohen, former attorney for Donald Trump, told federal investigators earlier this year that he had “intervened,” at Trump’s request, to help Falwell retrieve pieces of salacious materials from Granda, including photos of Becki Falwell in a skimpy “French Maid’s costumer” and other images of both her, Granda and her husband.

Falwell Jr. became the first evangelical leader to endorse Trump’s election campaign in 2016 and has been at his side for various public events, including appearances at Liberty. Becki is involved with “Women for Trump.”

The latest revelations come at Republicans gather in a “virtual” convention to nominate Trump for re-election as president.

Unlike his father, Jerry Falwell Sr., founder of Liberty, or his brother, who now heads their late father’s church in Lynchburg, Jerry Jr. is not a minister, but a lawyer educated at the University of Virginia, and a real estate developer who took over the university and helped it get out of debt and grow to become one of America’s largest online universities with an endowment of $1.6 billion.

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The photo sent out by Falwell Jr. on Instagram

This latest scandal grew out of his posting of an Instagram photo, taken by Becki, of he and her “personal assistant,” with her jeans and his pants unzipped and heir bare bellies showing.

The photo, later taken down, brought critics, including Liberty alumni and 50 pastors who graduated from the school, signing a letter demanding his resignation.

North Carolina GOP Congressman Mark Walker, who taught at Liberty and now heads the House Republican Conference, tweeted that “Jerry Falwell Jr’s ongoing behavior is appalling.”

The university, its students and faculty “deserve better,” Walker said.

“I really think the board of directors should have done this a long time ago, and if there’s anybody who needs to go next, it needs to be them,” Maina Mwaura, a Liberty graduate who helped organize a June letter from Black alumni criticizing Falwell, told The Associated Press Monday. “This school has become the laughingstock of the country.”

Becki Falwell does not return calls, emails or texts seeking comment. Her husband refers all requests to his “public relations team,” but they have not responded to requests for comment.

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