The pool attendant Jerry Falwell Jr. claimed tried to extort him after having an affair with his wife revealed Monday that he was involved in a seven-year sexual relationship with the suspended Liberty University president and his spouse.
In an explosive Reuters interview, Giancarlo Granda said his relationship with the couple began after they met in March 2012, when he was a 20-year-old employee at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel. The now 29-year-old said that throughout the relationship, which ended in 2018, he would have sex with Falwell’s wife, Becki Tilley Falwell, in front of the evangelical leader.
“Becki and I developed an intimate relationship and Jerry enjoyed watching from the corner of the room,” Granda said, noting that the liaisons took place “multiple times per year” at hotels in New York and Miami and at the couple’s home in Virginia.
Hours after the Reuters interview was published, Falwell Jr. agreed to resign as president of the evangelical Virginia school, which was founded in 1971 by his father.
On Sunday, Falwell Jr., 58, said in a statement to The Washington Examiner that his wife struck up an “inappropriate personal relationship” with the couple’s “pool boy” who then threatened to come forward. Citing the “emotional toll” of the affair, Falwell claimed that while he and his wife have “tried to distance ourselves from him over time,” the man “became increasingly angry and aggressive.” In the statement, Falwell Jr. insisted he was “not involved” in the affair.
“Eventually, he began threatening to publicly reveal this secret relationship with Becki and to deliberately embarrass my wife, family, and Liberty University unless we agreed to pay him substantial monies,” Falwell said in the statement to the Examiner.
Falwell, an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, made the allegation after Liberty University on Friday said it was investigating “rumors and claims” about him. The evangelical leader was put on indefinite leave earlier this month after a photo of him with his pants unzipped surfaced. Falwell has apologized for the photo, which he said was taken at a costume party during a family vacation.
In the statement to the Examiner, Falwell said his wife’s affair with their family friend sent him into a depression—which he described as “like living in a roller coaster.” Years later, he alleged, Granda tried to extort the Falwell family, but the Liberty president rejected the threats.
In his own statement to the Examiner, Granda denied ever extorting the family, saying “any allegation of extortion is falsely, defamatory and belied by clear documentary evidence. The Falwell’s attempt to sandbag me, and the Examiner, with a last minute story without providing the Examiner clear evidence that this was not simply an ‘affair’ with concocted allegations of extortion reeks desperation. The WHOLE truth will come out.”
Granda, however, does admit to having a consensual relationship with the couple starting in 2012. He said he now feels like they preyed upon him.
“Whether it was immaturity, naïveté, instability, or a combination thereof, it was this ‘mindset’ that the Falwells likely detected in deciding that I was the ideal target for their sexual escapades,” said Granda, who also provided emails, text messages, and other evidence to Reuters to prove the affair.
In one screenshot of a FaceTime conversation Granda had with the Falwells in 2019, Reuters reported Tilley Falwell was “naked.” In the call, the two reportedly discussed their relationship while Falwell peeped behind a door.
In another 2018 audio recording obtained by Reuters, Tilley Falwell complained to the 29-year-old about him describing his relationships with other people. “He’s like telling me every time he hooks up with people. Like I don’t have feelings or something,” Tilley Falwell reportedly said before Falwell chimed in, “You’re going to make her jealous.”
“I’m not trying to do that,” Granda replied, according to Reuters.
But recent text messages, including one exchange in June, revealed the relationship between Granda and the Falwells had turned sour—in part because of a business dispute. According to BuzzFeed News, the couple bought a Miami Beach youth hostel in 2013 with Granda—and he was “offered a share” because the 29-year-old lived in the area and would act as the manager.
“Since you’re okay with ruining my life, I am going to take the kamikaze route,” Granda wrote to Jerry Falwell in 2019, according to Reuters. “It really is a shame because I wanted to reach a peaceful resolution and just move on with our lives but if conflict is what you want, then so be it.”
“You should by now understand that I will not be extorted. I have always treated you fairly and been restrained in response to your threats because I did not wish to ruin your life. Going forward, stop contacting me and my family,” Falwell reportedly replied.
Michael Bowe, a lawyer for Falwell, told Reuters the evangelical leader “categorically denies everything you indicated you intend to publish about him.”