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Homophobic uni boss claims he was victim of ‘Fatal Attraction’ blackmail plot after wife had an affair with ‘pool boy’

Nick Duffy August 24, 2020
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Liberty University president Jerry Falwell with Donald Trump. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Disgraced anti-LGBT+ evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr has alleged he is being blackmailed by a “pool boy” he says his wife had an affair with.

Falwell Jr, a key Trump ally, was placed on a “leave of absence” from his role heading the private Liberty University earlier this month when he posted a photo of himself with his arm around a woman, showing his trousers unzipped and underwear exposed.

It was the latest in a stream of incidents raising questions about the conduct of the mega-wealthy conservative Christian university president, which requires students to sign a statement disavowing gay sex.

Falwell paid an undisclosed sum last year as part of an out-of-court settlement over his unlikely business relationship with a pool boy, after a dispute over his investment in a gay-friendly youth hostel. Meanwhile, in an uncovered recording, Trump fixer and convicted criminal Michael Cohen appeared to boast that he had helped Falwell to prevent the release of sexually compromising photos.

In a lengthy statement to the right-wing Washington Examiner on Sunday (August 23), Falwell broke his silence over the long-simmering scandal — claiming that the former pool boy had an affair with his wife in which he was “not involved,” and also alleging the man had blackmailed the couple in a supposed “Fatal Attraction type situation.”

Jerry Falwell Jr ‘forgave wife’ after affair.

In the statement, Falwell claimed that he and his wife had met “an ambitious young man who was working at our hotel” on a trip to Miami eight years ago and were “impressed by his initiative in suggesting a local real estate opportunity” — including him in a deal so that “he could play an active role in managing it”.

Falwell continued: “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.”

The preacher said he forgave his wife for the supposed infidelity, but claimed that the man “became increasingly angry and aggressive… [and] began threatening to publicly reveal this secret relationship with Becki and to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and Liberty University unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies”.

He added: “While this was very upsetting, we had been advised by trusted legal counsel that it was best to maintain contact with this person, as we tried to manage his increasingly erratic behaviour and unreasonable demands while extricating ourselves from him both on a personal level and from that real estate transaction.”

Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.
Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Falwell suggested that he has now decided to go public with his account because the former pool boy is making “false claims about the nature of the relationship based on the individual’s misrepresentations” to an unidentified journalist believed to be investigating the story.

He added: “We have categorically rejected this person’s demands while dealing with him and this particular member of the media who seemed just as obsessed with the prurient, untrue aspects of this story, however fantastic.”

Former pool boy blasts ‘false, defamatory’ claims.

Although not named in Falwell’s statement, many news reports have identified Giancarlo Granda as the now-former pool boy as the figure at the centre of the long-running scandal.

In a statement to the newspaper, Granda said: “Any allegation of extortion is falsely, defamatory and belied by clear documentary evidence.

“The Falwells’ attempt to sandbag me, and the Examiner, with a last minute story without providing the Examiner clear evidence that this was not simply an ‘affair’ with concocted allegations of extortion reeks desperation.

“The WHOLE truth will come out.”

More: Gay, Jerry Falwell Jr, liberty university

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