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In Secret Recording, Cohen Makes Explosive Falwell Claim

He says he helped evangelical leader deal with leak of racy photos
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2019 5:09 AM CDT
Updated May 8, 2019 6:56 AM CDT
In this May 13, 2017 photo, President Trump stands with Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. in Lynchburg, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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(Newser) – Michael Cohen says he helped Jerry Falwell Jr. with a highly personal matter months before the evangelical leader endorsed President Trump in 2015, according to a conversation taped by Tom Arnold. Arnold says he was waiting for his friend Cohen to go to prison before he released the recording of the March phone call, in which Trump's former lawyer claims he helped Falwell deal with somebody who had come into possession of racy "personal" photos that would normally be kept "between husband and wife," the Washington Post reports. Cohen claimed that the photos were destroyed after he spoke to an attorney for the person who had the images and was demanding money from the Liberty University president and his wife, reports Reuters.

"I actually have one of the photos," Cohen says in the recording. "It's terrible." Arnold says Cohen didn't know he was being recorded at the time, but he later told the lawyer the recording existed and he would release details after Cohen started his sentence in federal prison. Sources tell Reuters that Cohen later helped persuade Falwell to support Trump, though they say there's no sign that the endorsement was connected to the personal matter. Fox reports that Falwell told Todd Starnes on Fox Radio Tuesday that "no compromising or embarrassing photos" of him exist and reports that say otherwise are "not accurate." "While we have a long-standing friendship with Michael Cohen, we never engaged or paid Cohen to represent us in any legal or other professional capacity, and Cohen did not ever resolve any legal matter on our behalf," he said. (Falwell recently said Trump should have his first term extended by two years.)

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