President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE's former personal attorney and fixer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenTrump Organization faces new scrutiny in New York civil probe Michael Cohen: Trump bluffing about another White House bid Eric Trump lawyer in New York attorney general's fraud case quits MORE claimed in his new book that then-Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump was connected with Cohen suppressing explicit photos of Falwell.
In a recording made public last year by comedian Tom Arnold, Cohen said the Falwells had sought his help to keep “a bunch of photographs, personal photographs” from being leaked. “I actually have one of the photos, it’s terrible,” Cohen added in the recording.
In his book, “Disloyal,” Cohen compares the incident to tabloid “catch and kill” schemes to obtain and bury unfavorable information, according to Reuters.
Cohen does not explicitly say Falwell endorsed Trump in return, but writes, “In good time, I would call in this favor, not for me, but for the Boss, at a crucial moment on his journey to the presidency.”
Falwell was a key evangelical endorsement for Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Matthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' MORE (R-Texas), who ran for president that year, pitched his campaign heavily toward the demographic at the time.
However, the endorsement of Falwell and other key figures has widely been credited as winning over white evangelicals for Trump.
Cohen’s book described his relationship with the Falwells going back to 2011. Cohen calls them “dear friends, more like family to me,” but the wire service notes that the book depicts the relationship as transactional.
He describes an occasion in which he secured Justin Bieber tickets for their daughter, intimating that both the tickets and the photo matter could be used in an exchange.
“Like the Bieber favor a few years earlier, this would have a huge impact on the 2016 election, evangelicals, the Supreme Court and the fate of the nation,” he wrote.
“If Becki Falwell was seen half-naked by the students of Liberty University, let alone evangelicals all over the country, it would be an unmitigated disaster,” he wrote.
Earlier this year after the recording was released, Cohen said “there is absolutely no connection between the photos and my personal request to the Falwells to assist the Trump campaign.”
Falwell resigned his presidency at Liberty University in August after a business associate, Giancarlo Granda, claimed he had an affair with Falwell’s wife Becki Falwell with her husband’s knowledge and consent.
Falwell has denied involvement in the affair, saying he learned of it after his wife broke it off.