Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said Tuesday that he is asking the FBI to investigate what he called a "criminal" smear campaign orchestrated against him by several disgruntled former board members and employees. Falwell told the AP he has evidence that the group improperly shared emails belonging to the university with reporters in an attempt to discredit him. He said the "attempted coup" was partially motivated by his ardent backing of President Trump. Falwell, head of the nation's most high-profile evangelical college, was among the earliest Christian conservatives to endorse Trump's campaign. His allegations come after the publication of a story in Politico Magazine on Monday that alleged Falwell "presides over a culture of self-dealing" at Liberty that has improperly benefited him and his family.
The story cited unnamed sources described as current and former officials or Falwell associates. "I'm not going to dignify the lies that were reported yesterday with a response, but I am going to the authorities and I am going to civil court," Falwell said, referring to the reporter as a "little boy." He added that Liberty has hired "the meanest lawyer in New York," whom he declined to identify, to pursue civil cases. Falwell also declined to identify the people he said were spreading the emails. Falwell is the son of the late evangelist, Liberty founder and Moral Majority leader the Rev. Jerry Falwell. He has come under increased scrutiny recently over his personal life and business investments, including his involvement in a Miami hostel. Cybercrime expert Nick Akerman said Falwell's assertion of a criminal conspiracy is "totally insane." (More here.)