Former Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. is requesting dismissal of a breach of contract lawsuit the university filed against him seeking more than $40 million, claiming much of the suit was simply an excuse to publicly shame him with irrelevant allegations.
The university filed the lawsuit in mid-April, focusing in large part on an affair between Falwell’s wife, Becki, and a young man named Giancarlo Granda that Jerry Falwell Jr. has made public statements about.
Falwell has claimed Granda — once a pool boy, business partner and friend to the family — had extorted the couple, which Granda has denied.
LU honed in on those claims in its lawsuit, stating Falwell breached his fiduciary duty to the school by not disclosing “Granda’s extortive threats” while negotiating a 2019 employment agreement that included a $1.5 million raise and a $2.5 million severance package. Beyond that, it alleges Falwell damaged the school’s reputation and donor base through a series of “indiscretions” in recent years, along with his “personal impairment by alcohol.”
In documents filed Tuesday in Lynchburg Circuit Court, Falwell states the suit focuses on his wife’s personal life while not addressing his “actions as the leader of Liberty.”
“The rehashing of these events and protected defamation of Falwell through litigation serves one mission — ruining Falwell’s reputation through mischaracterization of events and public shaming through out-of-context pictures filed in a public complaint,” it reads.
Falwell’s response to the lawsuit states he had no duty to tell the university about private matters and the university failed to prove legal elements of the business conspiracy it alleged against him. He also says LU didn’t show the extent to which its reputation and donor base was damaged.
Falwell also filed a motion asking the court to require LU to produce his entire employment agreement as part of the case, filed under seal.