Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen says he helped Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife block the release of sensitive photos

  • President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen told CNN he helped Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki ensure that personal photos would not be released.
  • Falwell stepped down as president of Liberty University on Tuesday following a series of controversies including a report that Becki had a sexual affair with Falwell's former business partner, Giancarlo Granda.
  • Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations, but is currently finishing the rest of his three-year sentence at home due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Cohen said he's a long time friend of the Falwells and helping the former Liberty University head was not tied to the Trump campaign.
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Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, told CNN that he helped Jerry Falwell Jr. and his wife Becki ensure personal photos of the couple would not be released.

On Tuesday, Falwell officially stepped down as president of Liberty University following a series of controversies including a report that Becki had a sexual affair with Falwell's former business partner, Giancarlo Granda.

"Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room," Granda told Reuters.

Falwell denied the claims that he was involved in the affair.

Cohen said he helped the couple block some "personal photos between a husband and wife" from being released in 2015 by negotiating with an attorney for a father and son who had sued Falwell and Granda over a land deal, CNN reported.

"Jerry and Becki (were) very upset at the prospect of its (the photos') potential public release," Cohen told CNN.

Falwell confirmed Cohen's role in helping secure the images to The Washington Post and said the photos that show him and his wife in their backyard were stolen from his phone.

"They weren't fully nude," Falwell said. "They were just pictures of my wife. I was proud of how she looked."

The Post also reported that Cohen initially said he "confronted" Granda's lawyers over the photos but then corrected himself and said it was the lawyer for the father and son.

The son later settled with Falwell, according to the report.

Falwell was one of the first major evangelical leaders to endorse Trump in 2016, but Cohen told CNN that he was friends with the Falwells and him helping them had nothing to do with Trump or his campaign.

"There is absolutely no connection between the photos and my personal request to the Falwells to assist the Trump campaign," Cohen said.

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations as well as making false statements to Congress.

He was sentenced to three years in prison but was released on ten-months into his sentence over coronavirus concerns. He will spend the rest of his sentence at home.

Earlier this month, Falwell was put on an "indefinite" leave of absence from the university after a photo of him with his pants unzipped and his arm around a woman was posted on Instagram.

The Post reported that Falwell will receive a $10.5 million severance package since he's leaving the university without being formally accused of or admitting to wrongdoing, per his contract. Falwell told the outlet he will initially receive $2.5 million over the next two years and the remaining approximately $8 million after that.

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