Jerry Falwell says he was being blackmailed over wife’s affair

Jerry Falwell Jr. on Sunday told the Washington Examiner that a man who had an affair with his wife had been blackmailing the couple for the past several years.

Falwell said he and his wife, Becki Falwell, have since reconciled over what he said was a brief affair but that the man has continued to threaten to expose the matter.

In a statement to the newspaper, he said the couple met the man on vacation and were “impressed by his initiative in suggesting a local real estate opportunity,” eventually including him in a land investment.

“While we tried to distance ourselves from him over time, he unfortunately became increasingly angry and aggressive. Eventually, he 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,” Falwell wrote.

“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 behavior and unreasonable demands while extricating ourselves from him both on a personal level and from that real estate transaction,” he added.

Falwell did not name the man in his statement, but he has previously been identified as Giancarlo Granda.

Granda, a former business associate of Jerry Falwell Jr., told Reuters he was involved in an affair with the Falwells but denied any intent to blackmail.

Falwell told the Examiner he was coming forward to eliminate the leverage being held over him and his family. “I’m just tired of it,” he said, in reference to concerns about it being made public. “It’s just got to end.”

The announcement comes after Falwell was put on indefinite leave from his position as president of Liberty University. The school announced the move after Falwell posted and deleted an Instagram picture of himself with his pants unbuttoned and his arm around a woman he said was his wife’s assistant.

The university’s board of trustees said in a statement Friday that it has not made a decision about whether to fire Falwell and that he will remain on paid leave in the meantime, Politico reported.

Tags Falwell family Jerry Falwell Jr. Liberty University
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