Jerry Falwell Jr. is asking a court to dismiss Liberty University’s lawsuit against him, calling it an ‘excuse to shame him’

FILE - In this, Nov. 13 2019, file photo, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. talks to Donald Trump Jr. about his new book "Triggered" during convocation at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
In this, Nov. 13 2019, file photo, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. talks to Donald Trump Jr. about his new book “Triggered” during convocation at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

  • Jerry Falwell, Jr. asked a Virginia court to throw out a Liberty University lawsuit against him.
  • Falwell left the university last summer after a man alleged he had an affair with Falwell’s wife.
  • The man claimed Falwell also joined, but Falwell denied those claims.
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) – Jerry Falwell Jr. is asking a court in Virginia to dismiss a lawsuit Liberty University filed over his headline-grabbing departure last year as leader of the evangelical school his father founded.

Falwell claims in a court filing that much of Liberty’s suit serves only to keep shaming him after a provocative photo of him came to light and revelations surfaced of his wife’s extramarital affair, The News & Advance in Lynchburg reported Thursday.

Falwell claims the suit focuses on his wife’s personal life while not addressing his “actions as the leader of Liberty.”

“The rehashing of these events and protected defamation of Falwell through litigation serves one mission – ruining Falwell’s reputation through mischaracterization of events and public shaming through out-of-context pictures filed in a public complaint,” according to Tuesday’s filing in Lynchburg Circuit Court.

Falwell’s departure in August came after a news outlet published an interview with a man who said he had a years-long sexual relationship with Becki Falwell and that Jerry Falwell participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur. Falwell denied the report.

The school filed its suit in April, seeking tens of millions in damages. Liberty claims Falwell crafted a “well-resourced exit strategy” from his role as president and chancellor in the form of a lucrative 2019 employment agreement while withholding damaging information about the personal scandal that exploded into public view the following year.

The agreement included a raise, which Falwell told The Associated Press Friday amounted to $250,000, and a $2.5 million severance package.

“Despite his clear duties as an executive and officer at Liberty, Falwell Jr. chose personal protection,” the lawsuit says.

The suit also alleges that Falwell failed to disclose and address “the issue of his personal impairment by alcohol” and has refused to fully return confidential information and other personal property belonging to Liberty.

Falwell said in Tuesday’s filing that he had no duty to tell the university about private matters.

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Former Liberty president Jerry Falwell unexpectedly showed up to a student event and invited them to a graduation party at his home

Jerry Falwell Jr liberty university
Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, awaits the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump to sign an executive order linking “free speech” efforts at public universities to federal grants in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 21, 2019.

  • Liberty University filed a lawsuit against former President Jerry Falwell Jr. two weeks ago.
  • On Thursday, he showed up at a student event and invited them to a graduation party at his home.
  • Liberty has also banned all staff from communicating with Falwell.
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Former Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. showed up at a student event uninvited and announced a graduation party at his home, a few weeks after the university sued him, Politico reported.

“I just want to invite all the seniors to my farm on May 8. We’re going to have the real Liberty graduation,” Falwell told the students, standing on a small stage erected outside an off-campus student house, according to a video reviewed by POLITICO. “If you’re not a senior but you date one, you can come, too.”

Two weeks ago, Liberty University filed a lawsuit in Virginia state court against Falwell alleging he misused university resources and tried to conceal a relationship involving a former pool boy. The University also banned all staff from communicating with Falwell.

The university said in the lawsuit that Falwell’s years-long effort to conceal his “illicit conduct” hurt the university’s reputation and breached the school code of conduct.

Politico reported that Falwell and his wife Becki showed up to a Thursday school event where around 200 students were gathered unannounced and uninvited.

A student who was there told Politico that Falwell’s daughter, who is also a student at the university, told Falwell “Please don’t come.”

The Falwells have been engrossed in controversy including reports that he and Becki had a multi-year affair with a pool boy.

“We’d love to have you out there. Becki says there’s no way we can plan it that fast, but we can and we will,” Falwell said. He also encouraged students to share party information on social media, Politico reported.

In August 2020, Giancarlo Granda told Reuters that he had a multi-year sexual relationship with Falwell and his wife Becki. Granada said he met the couple in Miami in 2012.

Falwell said it was only his wife who participated in the affair.

In August 2020, Falwell posted a picture of himself with his pants unzipped, holding an alcoholic beverage in his hand, and with his arm around a woman at a yacht party. The photo outraged the US evangelical Christian community.

The photo also violated Liberty’s code of conduct. The university strictly requires students to dress “modestly” and also bars students from drinking.

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Jerry Falwell Jr.’s infamous photo with his pants unzipped was taken during a yacht party honoring a raunchy TV show, lawsuit says

Jerry Falwell Jr
Jerry Falwell Jr., former president of Liberty University, waits for the arrival of President Donald Trump to sign an executive order in 2019.

  • A new lawsuit revives a scandalous photo of former Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.
  • Falwell had his pants unbuttoned, a drink in one hand, and his arm around a woman in the photo.
  • The lawsuit says Falwell hosted a yacht party themed around the raunchy TV show “Trailer Park Boys.”
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A lawsuit Liberty University filed Friday against Jerry Falwell Jr., its former president, details the circumstances behind a controversial photo Falwell shared of himself on a yacht with his arm around a woman and his pants unzipped.

The photo, which Falwell posted on Instagram in August 2020, caused outrage at the time among the US evangelical Christian community.

Falwell is married, and he appeared to be holding an alcoholic beverage in the photo. Liberty University has a strict code of conduct that prohibits students from drinking, bans sexual content, and requires they dress “modestly.” Falwell is also a power center in Republican politics: His controversial early endorsement of Donald Trump in the 2016 election has been credited with rallying white evangelicals behind the former president.

According to the lawsuit – which is seeking millions of dollars in damages from Falwell Jr., alleging he gave himself a massive raise while covering up scandalous details about his personal life – the photo was taken during a Falwell-hosted yacht costume party. It was themed around “The Trailer Park Boys,” a raunchy Canadian TV show, and included “Falwell Jr.’s entire immediate family,” the lawsuit says.

“Overall, the tone and content of the show is vulgar,” the lawsuit says.

Attendees dressed up as characters from the show. The woman in the photo was another Liberty University employee and the wife of Falwell’s personal assistant, according to the lawsuit. The woman, who was pregnant at the time, unbuttoned the top of her shorts for comfort and Falwell unbuttoned his own pants “in apparent solidarity,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit includes a low-resolution reproduction of the image, which Falwell has since deleted from his Instagram account. Insider has obscured the woman’s face and isn’t identifying her because she did not appear to consent to the photo being made public.

Jerry Falwell Jr yacht photo
Jerry Falwell Jr. posted a photo of himself with his pants unbuttoned, a drink in one hand and his other arm around a woman.

Falwell told the woman in the image that he would keep the image to himself, the lawsuit says. He then posted it on Instagram anyway, calling the liquid in his glass, which looks a lot like wine, “black water.” He deleted the Instagram post soon afterward.

After the incident, Falwell gave an interview with local radio station WLNI where he said the photo was in “good fun” and that he “promised to be a good boy” going forward.

“You know, it was weird because she’s pregnant so she couldn’t get her pants up and I was like, trying to like – I have a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in a long time so I couldn’t get mine zipped either,” Falwell said. “So I just put my belly out like hers.”

Around the same time, the Liberty University lawsuit says, Falwell’s wife told Liberty University executives that Falwell Jr. was dealing with excessive alcohol use. Falwell took a leave of absence as the Liberty University president on August 7.

Falwell officially resigned weeks later as more personal details of his life came to light. He filed his own lawsuit against Liberty University over the circumstances of his departure.

In a statement Friday, Falwell said Liberty University’s new lawsuit was “full of lies and half-truths” and he would fight it.

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