Jerry Falwell Jr threatens reporter over Liberty U investigation into his finances

Jerry Falwell Jr. threatened a news organization for asking questions about his financial entanglement with Liberty University.

The evangelical university hired an outside firm to investigate "all facets" of Falwell's time as president, including financial and real estate operations, after he resigned in the wake of a sex scandal involving his wife and a pool boy the couple befriended, reported Reuters.

“At this time, the forensic investigation is limited to Jerry Falwell’s term as president,” a university spokesperson said, explaining that the probe will not look into deals he made as Liberty's lawyer in 2001 and 2005.

Insiders are not legally prohibited from conducting personal business transactions with the nonprofits they oversee, but some experts say such deals can raise concerns about conflicts of interest and cannot be used for the private benefit of individuals.

Falwell took over as president in 2007, after years as a lawyer handling Liberty's real estate interests, intertwined his own finances with the university founded by his father and placed his two sons, along with their wives, on the school's payroll.

Before taking over as president, Falwell set up two companies that allowed him to make property deals with nonprofit entities associated with the university, and he played multiple roles in each of those negotiations.

“It’s very worrisome to have these sorts of financial arrangements going on and they deserve intense scrutiny,” said Michael Bastedo of the University of Michigan School of Education.

Reuters contacted Falwell to ask about his financial dealings as president, and he initially referred questions to his legal and public relations representatives before calling the reporter back with a threat.

“I welcome it because it will prove that all you guys are liars,” Falwell said. “You got nothing.”

He then warned the reporter not to question his adult sons, who still work with Liberty.

“Trust me,” Falwell said, “you do not want to mess with me, okay?”