In his lawsuit, Falwell says that the university he used to direct is suing him with the sole intent of ruining his reputation.
Jerry Falwell Jr. is asking a Virginia court to dismiss Liberty University’s lawsuit against him.
According to NBC News, Liberty filed its lawsuit against Falwell following the preacher’s departure as the university director. Farwell, notes NBC News, resigned after media outlets published provocative pictures of him, as well as details of his wife’s extramarital affair.
Now, Falwell says that Liberty’s lawsuit against him has more to do with his wife’s misconduct than his “actions as the leader of Liberty.”
“The rehashing of these events and protected defamation of Falwell through litigation serves one mission – ruining Falwell’s reputation through mischaracterization of events and public shaming through out-of-context pictures filed in public complaint,” the preacher’s lawsuit states.
Falwell, adds NBC News, left Liberty University in August after a news outlet published an interview with a man who claimed to have had an extramarital affair with Falwell’s wife.
The same man, says NBC, claimed that Falwell participated in some of his wife’s sexual escapades.
While Falwell has since recognized that the young man and his wife did have a sexual relationship, he asserted that he did not participate in any of their liaisons.
However, the News & Advance reports that Liberty University’s lawsuit goes beyond the intricacies of Falwell’s marriage and personal life.
While Liberty’s lawsuit does suggest that Falwell damaged its reputation and donor base through his “indiscretions,” the school charges that Falwell had also been blackmailed and extorted by his wife’s lover. All the while, Falwell was negotiating a multimillion dollar exit package for himself.
“Despite his clear duties as an executive and officer at Liberty, Falwell Jr. chose personal protection,” Liberty attorneys wrote in their lawsuit, effectively accusing Falwell of breaching his fiduciary duty to the university by covering up the alleged extortion attempts.
Falwell also may have suffered from several alcohol-related mishaps or substance abuse issues; the lawsuit notes that he also failed to disclose “the issue of his personal impairment by alcohol.”
Since leaving his post as Liberty’s leader, Falwell Jr. has allegedly refused to return confidential materials and other university-owned properties.
To recoup the damage to its reputation, Liberty is asking that a court award the university tens of millions of dollars in damages.
However, Falwell has continued to defend himself, saying the university’s lawsuit only intends to ruin his reputation. Furthermore, Falwell’s request to the court states that he had no duty—fiduciary or otherwise—to inform Liberty of developments in his personal life.