Cohen Links Falwell’s Trump Endorsement To Falwell’s Risqué Pictures

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Michael Cohen, President Trump's former attorney arrives at his Park Avenue home after being released from federal prison on July 24, 2020 in New York City. On Thursday, a Manhattan federal ju... NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Michael Cohen, President Trump's former attorney arrives at his Park Avenue home after being released from federal prison on July 24, 2020 in New York City. On Thursday, a Manhattan federal judge ordered that Cohen return to home confinement after ruling that the government had sent him back to prison as "retaliation" for planning to publish a book about President Donald Trump.(Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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In his new book, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen linked Jerry Falwell Jr.’s early Trump endorsement in 2016 to Cohen’s suppression of “personal” pictures of Falwell and his wife, Becki.

According to Reuters, which obtained a copy of “Disloyal: The Memoir,” Cohen said that he “killed” the photos.

“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,” Cohen wrote. He did not say explicitly what the favor was.

“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,” Cohen added, per Reuters, referring to a time when he secured Justin Bieber tickets for the Falwells’ daughter. “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.”

Falwell endorsed Trump before the Iowa caucus in 2016, well before many prominent Republicans were on board. The vote of confidence from such a prominent evangelical was a surprise to many and a huge boost to Trump’s legitimacy. Cohen has said before that he was a main driver behind that endorsement.

Cohen has previously denied any link between the photos and Falwell’s endorsement: “There is absolutely no connection between the photos and my personal request to the Falwells to assist the Trump campaign,” he told CNN. But the timing has long seemed suspicious, not least because a former spokesperson for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) — a primary competitor who announced his run at Falwell’s Liberty University and was particularly hard hit by the shift of evangelicals to Trump — said that Falwell had previously promised him he wouldn’t endorse in the primary.

Falwell fell from his perch as president of Liberty late last month after salacious details of his triangular sex life surfaced. Giancarlo Granda, a former business partner of the Falwells, told Reuters that he had a years-long affair with Becki Falwell including liaisons where Jerry Falwell watched the two have sex. Falwell confirmed that Granda and his wife had had the affair, and said that Granda was using “false claims” about it to blackmail the couple.

Falwell’s prospects were already in decline by that point though. He’d been on “indefinite leave” since August 7, after posting pictures on his Instagram account of himself and a woman with their pants unzipped.

Cohen, meanwhile, has been serving out the rest of a three-year prison sentence for, among other things, campaign finance violations and tax fraud, from his home.

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Notable Replies

  1. Guessing either he or the publisher’s lawyers were shy about directly saying Trump blackmailed Falwell. The reader supplies that inference. “Just raising the question,” as one does.

  2. The blackmail doesn’t have to be explicit when you’re already indebted to the person with damning information who is asking you for a favor. Regardless, I’m sure Maddow will be all over this in her interview with Cohen tonight.

  3. “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.”

    Much as I would like Cohen to be correct about this, alas, empirical data say otherwise.

    Even if you published full-page glossies of her and Jerry in congress with an underage goat…

    99% of “Trump evangelicals” would just shrug and ask, ”So what?”

  4. I don’t even believe the blackmail wasn’t explicit. Sure, it often works with a “shame if something should happen to it”…and that’s exactly how Donny’s blackmail racket has always worked, like a protection scheme, i.e., he gets dirt on you and then you pay him to protect you from him releasing it (it’s why he was friends and blackmail-mates with Pecker)…but here, I just don’t believe it wasn’t stated outright. Mikey’s delivering the goods without putting his own ass back in front of a jury.

  5. Avatar for erik_t erik_t says:

    I think when a slimeball like Michael Cohen lets you know he’s got some interesting photos, nothing more need be said. Is he dumb enough to have directly blackmailed Falwell? I mean, probably, but I suspect the undertones felt sufficiently clear.

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