Jerry Falwell, Jr., the embattled former president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, has filed a lawsuit against the college founded by his late father.
He is arguing the leaders of the evangelical school wrongly believed his accuser, Giancarlo Granda, who claimed over the summer Falwell and his wife, Becki, were involved in a years-long sexual tryst with him. Falwell ultimately resigned.
Falwell, a stalwart supporter of President Donald Trump, asserted in a statement released Thursday morning that Granda has been financially backed by his political adversaries, namely the anti-Trump Lincoln Project.
The suit charges university leaders with defamation of character and breach of contract. It does not, however, include any monetary figure.
“Other than God and my family, there is nothing in the world I love more than Liberty University,” claimed Falwell, who has long suggested Granda is lying and attempting to extort him. “I am saddened that university officials, with whom I have shared so much success and enjoyed such positive relationships, jumped to conclusions about the claims made against my character, failed to properly investigate them, and then damaged my reputation following my forced resignation.”
Falwell stepped aside from his role at the university in late August after weeks of mounting pressure over the allegations made by Granda, whom they met at a Florida hotel in 2012. The ex-college president has vehemently rebuffed Granda’s accusations, claiming he had been trying to privately blackmail the Falwell family before going public with his scandalous allegations.
In his complaint, Falwell’s legal representatives assert statements by Liberty leaders have “had the effect of affirming false claims that an individual made publicly against Mr. Falwell after years-long attempts at extortion against Falwell and his wife Becki. Based on research and investigation, this individual appears to be supported financially by political opponents of Mr. Falwell in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, likely including the anti-Trump political action committee called The Lincoln Project.”
It went on to accuse college executives of making statements to “tarnish, minimize, and outright destroy the legacy of the Falwell family and Mr. Falwell’s reputation” in order to push him out of his leadership role, which he held for 13 years.
Falwell’s lawyer, Robert Raskopf of Quinn Emanuel, said he and his client tried to meet with Liberty board members “several times” to make their case “but were unsuccessful in doing so.”
“Thus,” he explained, “we were forced to seek remedy for Mr. Falwell’s ongoing injuries and damage to his reputation through the court.”
For his part, Falwell said he “hoped to avoid litigation,” but argued Thursday he “must take the necessary steps to restore my reputation and hopefully help repair the damage to the Liberty University brand in the process.”
Faithwire reached out to Liberty for a statement. If a representative for the college responds, this article will be updated to include those comments.