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Jerry Falwell Jr., the disgraced former president of Liberty University, has dropped his defamation lawsuit against his former employer.
Falwell resigned in August following the allegations of a former pool boy who alleged he had an affair with Falwell’s wife, Becki, and that Jerry Falwell watched the sexual interactions. In late October, Falwell filed a lawsuit against Liberty University, alleging outside, anti-Trump forces were behind his ouster, The Daily Wire previously reported.
Falwell has now asked a judge in Lynchburg, Virginia, to dismiss the case, a motion that was granted, although Falwell has the option of refiling the lawsuit at a later date, The News & Advance reported Thursday.
“I’ve decided to take a time out from my litigation against Liberty University, but I will continue to keep all options on the table for an appropriate resolution to the matter,” Falwell told the paper in a statement.
Fox News reported that there was no indication in court documents as to why Falwell asked to dismiss the complaint. Liberty University told the outlet in a statement that Falwell’s decision to drop the lawsuit “was not prompted by any payments, promises, or other consideration” from his former employer.
“The University’s administration and Board of Trustees are pleased that Falwell has dropped his lawsuit and look forward to pressing onward with the work of Liberty’s President and Chancellor Search Committee to find the new leadership to succeed Falwell,” the university said in a statement.
When Falwell filed his lawsuit in October, he released a statement alleging Liberty took an accuser’s word over his and was persuaded by anti-Trump groups such as the Lincoln Project to force him out. Falwell said his lawsuit would include charges of defamation and breach of contract.
“Other than God and my family, there is nothing in the world I love more than Liberty University,” Falwell said in his statement at the time. “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.”
In August, The Daily Wire reported that a former pool boy who worked for Falwell and his wife, Becki, had been in a sexual relationship with the couple for years:
Giancarlo Granda, 29, told Reuters that his alleged relationship with Falwell and his wife, Becki, began when he was just 20, when he met them while working as a pool boy at Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in 2012. Granda said the trysts, which he claims involved Falwell watching as he had sex with his wife, continued until 2018. “Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” he said.
Granda reportedly provided Reuters with evidence of the affair, which he said involved the trio getting together “multiple times per year.” Looking back, he also claimed the Falwells’ treatment of him was predatory, saying, “Whether it was immaturity, naïveté, instability, or a combination thereof, it was this ‘mindset’ that the Falwells likely detected in deciding that I was the ideal target for their sexual escapades.”
Falwell at the time admitted that Granda had an affair with his wife but accused the former pool boy of blackmailing his family. In a statement, Falwell’s attorneys said the claims from Granda damaged Falwell’s reputation.
“These statements 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,” the statement said.