In the ongoing word salad that is our political moment, the role of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. remains a wild one. Questions continue to swirl around the two million dollar business loan Falwell made to a Florida pool boy (and the ensuing legal fallout), but now there’s a new wrinkle.
It had already been reported that President Donald Trump’s fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen secured Falwell’s game-changing endorsement of Trump early in the 2016 election cycle, but new allegations suggest Falwell and Cohen’s relationship extended to at least a few months prior, when Cohen was recruited to help Falwell deal with “personal” photographs — the sort that would generally be kept “between husband and wife” — that had fallen into the wrong hands.
The photos were destroyed after Cohen got involved, according to sources Reuters spoke with. According to what Reuters called “sources familiar with Cohen’s thinking,” Cohen flew to Florida and met with an attorney for the person who had obtained the Falwell’s “racy” photographs. The Falwells declined to comment for the report.
A very strange detail: This whole ordeal was recounted by Cohen in a conversation secretly recorded by actor Tom Arnold — yes, that Tom Arnold, from freaking True Lies — a few months ago, before Cohen began his three-year prison sentence for federal campaign violations and lying to Congress.
Reuters was not able to find any proof that Cohen’s handling of the photo ordeal was related to Falwell’s eventual endorsement of Trump, but that endorsement was seen as a key moment in Trump’s then-burgeoning campaign. Falwell has been one of Trump’s staunchest and most public evangelical supporters since, even suggesting the President is owed two extra years in the White House.