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Michael Cohen discussed mysterious $1.8 million loan to pool boy that Jerry Falwell Jr and his wife befriended: report

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Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed that he loaned $1.8 million to a young pool attendant he and his wife had befriended while staying six years ago at a luxury hotel.

Buzzfeed News had previously reported on a lawsuit that claimed the evangelical leader and his wife had developed a “friendly relationship” in 2012 with Giancarlo Granda, then 21 years old, at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and Falwell confirmed in a court filing that he helped set up the younger man in business.

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A source close to Falwell told Buzzfeed News he was “sure” Falwell had discussed the Granda case with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who was sentenced earlier this month to three years in prison as part of a case involving payoffs to Trump mistresses.

Buzzfeed said there was “no evidence” that the discussions played a role in Falwell’s subsequent decision to endorse Trump for president.

“My wife and I provided a loan of $1 million,” Falwell said. “Later, my wife and I provided additional funds of $800,000 for renovations of Alton Hostel which are being treated as an additional loan.”

A father-and-son duo who also participated in the business filed a lawsuit last year claiming they were pushed out of the deal, and that filing revealed Falwell’s involvement.

Falwell filed an affidavit this month in response to the suit, saying he gave Granda the loan “in exchange for his agreement to serve as local manager.”

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The filing does not explain why Falwell invested so heavily in the hostel or why Granda was hired as the manager despite having no relevant experience in real estate or hotel management.

Granda was introduced in 2012 to Trump, then a reality TV star and real estate mogul, at Liberty University, where the celebrity businessman was giving a convocation speech, which was also attended by Cohen.

It’s not clear why Granda, who was not a Liberty student, was at the Christian university.

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(Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly claimed that Michael Cohen helped broker the payment between Jerry Falwell Jr. and Giancarlo Granda. We regret the error.)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Arkansas church vows to continue services: ‘Jesus died with COVID-19 so that you didn’t have to bear it’

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An Arkansas church intends to hold church services despite recommendations from state officials to limit gatherings as part of the fight against the coronavirus.

Awaken Church, in Jonesboro, vowed in a Facebook post to continue holding services in defiance of a Health Department directive banning gatherings of 10 or more, and after churches in other parts of the country were the source of community outbreaks, reported Newsweek.

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2020 Election

Trump’s path to re-election ‘smashed to splinters’ as his only achievement is swallowed up by the pandemic: report

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In a piece for Politico, Ben White writes that Donald Trump was going into November's election with only one achievement under his belt -- a healthy economy -- and now he has nothing left to run if he wants to be re-elected.

With all of the gains made in the stock market long gone due to the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse of oil prices, White claims that the president's campaign strategy lies in tatters.

"The fundamental pillars of Donald Trump’s presidency — a hot economy, strong job growth and a rocking stock market — are all being smashed to splinters by the ravaging coronavirus, which has shuttered much of the nation and now officially ended a streak of 113 months of job gains dating back to the end of the Great Recession a decade ago," he wrote before noting the explosion of unemployment claims -- over ten million so far -- that has the country reeling.

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Strong signs that judges will increasingly decide how 2020 elections are run during the coronavirus pandemic

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The jaw-dropping conclusion of a federal court hearing on April 1 about Wisconsin’s statewide elections on April 7 was no April Fools’ joke. U.S. District Judge William Conley said the state’s Democratic governor and Republican-led legislature had failed to put their citizenry’s health first by not postponing the statewide election in a pandemic.

“There’s a hurricane coming!” Conley fumed from the bench, interrupting Douglas M. Poland, a lawyer representing the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and four citizens who sued the state. “You can’t even give me a case where a federal judge stopped a state from stupidly holding an election when most of the voters were not going to go to the polls because there’s a hurricane coming!”

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