Falwell Drops Lawsuit Against Liberty University
Jerry Falwell, Jr. has dropped the defamation lawsuit he filed against Liberty University, the conservative evangelical school he resigned from as president in August amid a series of personal scandals.
Falwell had alleged that the Lynchburg, Va., university founded by his father had defamed him and breached his contract. He voluntarily resigned and took with him a $10.5 million severance package. In early August he was suspended with pay after posting — and then deleting — a controversial photo on social media. It showed the married Falwell with his pants unzipped, belly showing, part of his beard painted and his arm around a young woman.
Then, later in August, news reports surfaced alleging that he and his wife, Becki, had engaged in an extramarital affair with a former business partner and family friend. Giancarlo Granda said he had a years-long sexual relationship with the couple that involved him having sex with Becki Falwell while Jerry Falwell looked on.
A Virginia commonwealth judge agreed to dismiss Falwell’s action without prejudice, meaning he could opt to refile at a later date.
Falwell, in a statement to the Lynchburg News Advance, said, “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.”
The school issued the following statement in response to Falwell’s filing: “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.”
Shortly after Falwell’s departure, Liberty announced it had begun an independent investigation into his tenure as president, to include financial, real estate and legal matters.