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Reports swirl over Falwell’s expected resignation

Jerry Falwell Jr. (right) and his wife, Becki Associated Press/Photo by Steve Helber (file)

Reports swirl over Falwell’s expected resignation

After news broke of a scandal involving Jerry Falwell Jr., his status at Liberty University wavered between questionable and definitely leaving, depending on which media outlet was reporting it. The university said in a statement he agreed to step down as president and from its board of directors but then withdrew the resignation after news of it hit the national press. According to the school’s statement, Falwell agreed to “resign immediately as President of Liberty University [Monday] but then instructed his attorneys to not tender the letter for immediate resignation.” Falwell told Virginia Business he has no plans to resign, while The Washington Post later reported negotiations over his departure were ongoing. Early on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Falwell told one of its reporters he had just sent in his resignation letter.

What’s the latest scandal? In a statement published by the Washington Examiner on Sunday, Falwell said a former family friend had a long-term extra-marital affair with his wife, Becki, and tried to extort money from the couple by threatening to go public with the story. On Monday, Reuters published an investigative report in which the friend, Giancarlo Granda, said Falwell knew about and participated in the affair. Granda told Reuters he did not blackmail the couple but tried to end a business relationship with them. In his short telephone interview with Virginia Business, Falwell said the Reuters report was “90 percent false.”

Earlier this month, the executive committee of Liberty’s Board of Trustees placed Falwell on indefinite leave from his roles as the school’s president and chancellor after he posted a lewd photo on Instagram. But Falwell told Virginia Business the leave was simply “a three-month break” so he could deal with stress.

Dig deeper: Read my report in The Sift about the alleged business venture between Granda and Falwell.

Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is WORLD’s executive editor for news. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.


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