Updated Aug 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Jerry Falwell's chaotic exit from Liberty University

Jerry Falwell
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed to the Washington Post Wednesday that he'll receive $10.5 million from Liberty University after resigning following a Reuters story alleging that he and his wife had a years-long intimate relationship with business partner Giancarlo Granda.

What he's saying: Falwell told WashPost Liberty's board was "gracious not to challenge" his severance package of $2.5 million over the next two years, during which he can't work for a rival institution, and a further $8 million in retirement, per his 2019 contract.

The state of play: Liberty University said it accepted the resignation of Jerry Falwell Jr. on Tuesday effective immediately, following a Reuters story alleging that he and his wife had engaged in a years-long intimate relationship with business partner Giancarlo Granda.

  • The university said in a statement to news outlets including Axios that Falwell sent a resignation letter late Monday night after first agreeing to resign and then reversing course.
  • Liberty's Board of Trustees unanimously voted to affirm Falwell's resignation on Tuesday morning, the university said in a statement. The board plans to meet in Lynchburg to form a search committee for a new president.

Of note: Liberty said Monday that Falwell agreed to resign as its president and from its board of directors, but "following media reports about the resignation, withdrew it."

  • The university said since the evangelical leader and outspoken Trump ally had taken an "indefinite leave of absence" over an earlier incident "additional matters came to light that made it clear that it would not be in the best interest of the University for him to return from leave and serve as President."
  • Falwell "responded by agreeing to resign immediately," the statement continued, "but then instructed his attorneys to not tender the letter for immediate resignation."

The big picture: Falwell had agreed to the indefinite leave of absence on Aug. 7 after posting a photo of himself with unzipped pants and an arm around a woman on social media.

  • The Reuters report, which came after Falwell claimed he was extorted by former pool attendant Granda over his wife's affair, only intensified calls for his resignation.
  • Falwell also faced criticism for his controversial political statements and decision to bring students back to campus in March, despite the threat of the coronavirus.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest details on Falwell's resignation and the fallout from the Reuters report.

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