Longtime Donald Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen — who reported to federal prison for a three-year term on Monday — was asked by Jerry Falwell, Jr. to cover up a scandal, Reuters reported Tuesday.
“Months before evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s game-changing presidential endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016, Falwell asked Trump fixer Michael Cohen for a personal favor, Cohen said in a recorded conversation reviewed by Reuters,” the publication reported.
Reuters noted that “Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy ‘personal’ photographs — the sort that would typically be kept ‘between husband and wife,’ Cohen said in the taped conversation.”
The photos were reportedly destroyed after Cohen intervened.
“The Falwells enlisted Cohen’s help in 2015, according to the source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the year Trump announced his presidential candidacy. At the time, Cohen was Trump’s confidant and personal lawyer, and he worked for the Trump Organization,” Reuters noted.
Falwell’s relationship with Donald Trump has long puzzled political and religious observers.
“Cohen would later prove successful in another matter involving Falwell, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Cohen helped persuade Falwell to issue his endorsement of Trump’s presidential candidacy at a critical moment, they said: just before the Iowa caucuses. Falwell subsequently barnstormed with Trump and vouched for the candidate’s Christian virtues,” Reuters reported.
“Falwell’s backing helped galvanize evangelicals and persuaded many Christians concerned about Trump’s past behavior to embrace him as a repentant sinner,” Reuters noted. “Falwell’s support for Trump has not wavered throughout the New York celebrity-politician’s own tribulations, including the Access Hollywood recording of Trump talking about grabbing women’s genitals and payoffs made by Cohen to hide Trump’s extramarital affairs.”
In the recordings, Cohen described seeing one of the photographs.
“I actually have one of the photos,” Cohen said. “It’s terrible.”