Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who began a three-year prison sentence this week, helped evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. get rid of “racy personal photos,” according to a recorded conversation obtained by Reuters. Soon after, Falwell endorsed Trump, just before the Iowa caucuses.
Reuters reports: ‘Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation. According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.’
The recording was made secretly by Tom Arnold. Cohen told Arnold in the conversation that he had one of the photos, adding, “It’s terrible.”
Reuters adds: “The Falwells told Cohen that someone had obtained photographs that were embarrassing to them, and was demanding money, the source said. Reuters was unable to determine who made the demand. The source said Cohen flew to Florida and soon met with an attorney for the person with the photographs.”
In related news, this story about Falwell Jr., his wife, and their hotel venture got much more interesting: ‘Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed that he loaned $1.8 million to a young pool attendant he and his wife had befriended while staying six years ago at a luxury hotel. Buzzfeed News had previously reported on a lawsuit that claimed the evangelical leader and his wife had developed a “friendly relationship” in 2012 with Giancarlo Granda, then 21 years old, at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and Falwell confirmed in a court filing that he helped set up the younger man in business. … Falwell filed an affidavit this month in response to the suit, saying he gave Granda the loan “in exchange for his agreement to serve as local manager.” The filing does not explain why Falwell invested so heavily in the hostel or why Granda was hired as the manager despite having no relevant experience in real estate or hotel management.’