Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

911 call from Jerry Falwell Jr.’s house last month describes ‘a lot of blood’

One week after Reuters published an explosive report on an alleged sexual and financial relationship between Jerry Falwell Jr., his wife and a Miami man named Giancarlo Granda, responders were called to the Falwells’ house in Bedford County, Virginia.

According to records and 911 audio obtained by HuffPost, on the night of Aug. 30, Jerry Falwell Jr. was intoxicated and apparently injured; his wife, Becki Falwell, described “a lot of blood right now.”

Alcohol use lurked behind the series of scandals that led Jerry Falwell Jr. to resign as president of Liberty University last month. He initially announced a leave of absence from Liberty, a private evangelical university founded by his father, Jerry Falwell Sr., on Aug. 7 after he posted a racy photo on Instagram with his pants unzipped, and his arm around a woman with her midriff exposed. A dark drink was in his hand, which he later claimed was “black water” that was “a prop only.” Liberty University stringently forbids alcohol use by students.

15 PHOTOSJerry Falwell Jr. – Liberty UniversitySee GalleryJerry Falwell Jr. – Liberty UniversityJerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, speaks during a Liberty University Convocation with Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Donald Trump Jr., right, speaks as Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. listens during a panel discussion at a Liberty University Convocation, Wednesday, Nov.13, 2019, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Don Petersen)Corrects to Becki not Becky – FILE -This Wednesday Nov. 28, 2018 file photo shows Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr., right, and his wife, Becki during after a town hall at a convocation at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Falwell Jr. says he is seeking help for the “emotional toll” from an affair his wife had with a man who he says later threatened his family. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)Liberty University president, Jerry Falwell Jr., left, and political analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle, right, listen as Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a Liberty University Convocation, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Don Petersen)DAVENPORT, IA – JANUARY 30:Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) joins Jerry Lamon Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University, for a campaign rally at the Adler Theatre on January 30, 2016 in Davenport, Iowa. Trump is in Iowa trying to gain support in front of the state’s February 1 caucuses.(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 21:President of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)US President Donald Trump (L) and President of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Jr. listen to a song during Liberty University’s commencement ceremony May 13, 2017 in Lynchburg, Virginia. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski(Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)George Rogers, a retired Liberty University vice president and a veteran of World War II, second right, speaks during a Liberty University Convocation with Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, left, and Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, right, in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 14: Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. introduces Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before Sanders’ speech at Liberty University’s Convocation in Lynchburg, Va., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, right, receives a Liberty University jersey from Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, left, talks to Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Ben Carson, 2016 Republican presidential candidate, right, and Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, listen to a prayer during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. As retired neurosurgeon Carson has risen in the polls, media reports have revisited his accounts of acts of violence as a child, a key part of the redemption story he discusses on the campaign trail. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, left, and Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, listen to a prayer during a Liberty University Convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. Sanders now leads his Democratic rival former secretary of state Hillary Clinton by double digits in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states in where votes will be cast in 2016 to decide the party’s presidential nominee. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 14: Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. presents a sports jersey to Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., before Sanders’ speech at Liberty University’s Convocation in Lynchburg, Va., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)Lynchburg, VA – Jerry Falwell, Jr.president and chancellor of Liberty University introduces the convocation speaker in the Vines Center, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013.(Photo by Norm Shafer/For the Washington Post)Up Next

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Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned as president of Liberty on Aug. 25, one day after Reuters published a story on Granda’s allegations he had a yearslong sexual relationship with Becki Falwell, with the approval of her husband, and that also led to some interlocking business relationships. In other news accounts, Granda claimed that the Falwells’ “lavish lifestyle consisted of heavy drinking and going to nightclubs, which is strictly prohibited by the honor code that they expect everyone else to follow.”

On Aug. 31, Liberty’s board of trustees announced a comprehensive investigation by an outside firm of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s tenure as president. Earlier that morning, around 2:30 a.m., Bedford County dispatchers received a 911 call from Becki Falwell.

She described being at church around 11 p.m. and receiving a call from her husband, who said he was bleeding after a fall down the stairs. Finding the doors locked when she got home, she used a chair to break through the back door.

The dispatcher asked whether her husband had been drinking alcohol; Becki Falwell said “yes.” When asked if he had been drinking “heavily,” she said, “I’m not going to answer that question.” 

The dispatcher explained that alcohol thins the blood and could account for the excessive bleeding, and restated the question.

“The more I tell you the name, the more you’re going to understand why we’re not talking to you right now,” Becki Falwell said. Dispatch logs, obtained by HuffPost via a public records request, state that “He won’t let her take him to the hospital as he is stubborn. Caller was not forthcoming.”

But medics and emergency responders arrived at the residence later that night. A responder observed lacerations on Jerry Falwell Jr.’s face, including under his left eye, across the bridge of his nose, and above both his right and left eyes. The responder also recorded in a report that Jerry Falwell Jr. said he hit his head on a trash can, and that there was “blood in the area he indicated” as well as “empty alcohol containers.” The officer also noted “Jerry had slurred and slowed speach (sic) and would repeat things already asked.”

Neither the Falwells nor a lawyer reportedly hired by Jerry Falwell Jr. responded to phone calls, voice messages or emails from HuffPost requesting comment. An email to Liberty University’s spokesman also went unanswered.

The son of an influential televangelist and megachurch co-founder, Jerry Falwell Jr. had attracted attention for incendiary political commentary. In a 2015 speech, for example, he bragged about his concealed carry permit and said if more people had them, “we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.” 

Many evangelicals forgo alcohol, which Jerry Falwell Sr. called “the worst, most offensive drug in American society.” The Liberty University code of conduct prohibits students from drinking — whether on or off campus, before or after age 21. The school requires students to submit to random breath, blood and urine tests to enforce the ban.

Jerry Falwell Jr. was one of the earliest prominent evangelicals to back Donald Trump for president, and campaigned aggressively for him in the 2016 election.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “Former school administrators said staff and donors complained that he showed up to campus appearing drunk or smelling of alcohol.” Jerry Falwell Jr. told the Journal he did not come to campus drunk, though noted alcohol was not banned for faculty. 

But Jerry Falwell Jr. had long appeared anxious about his public image as it related to alcohol use. Politico asked him last month, on Aug. 21, about photos on the internet from 2014 of him partying at a Miami nightclub. He claimed the photos were “likely photo-shopped.” However, the Politico report says several Liberty staffers claim that when the photos came out several years ago, Jerry Falwell Jr. urged Liberty’s head of IT to help him deprioritize the photos in Google search results. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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