Michael Cohen said in a recorded conversation reviewed by Reuters, months before evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump in 2016, Falwell asked Michael Cohen for a personal favor.
Falwell said that someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept
“between husband and wife.”
Cohen, who began a three-year prison sentence this week for federal campaign violations (and lying to Congress) told of his involvement in the matter in a recording made by comedian Tom Arnold on March 25. Portions of the recording — in which Cohen appeared to disavow parts of his guilty plea — were first reported April 24 by The Wall Street Journal.
In 2015, the Falwells enlisted Cohen’s help, the year Trump announced his presidential candidacy. Cohen was Trump’s confidant and personal lawyer, at the time.
The Falwells wanted to keep the photos private. Cohen told Tom Arnold.
“I actually have one of the photos… it’s terrible.”
Later Cohen helped persuade Falwell to issue his endorsement of Trump’s presidential candidacy at a critical moment, they said: just before the Iowa caucuses.
Reuters said it has no evidence that Falwell’s endorsement of Trump was related to Cohen’s involvement in the photo matter.
Although Falwell declined interview requests from Reuters, he has said repeatedly that he endorsed Trump because Trump was the strongest candidate, had significant experience running a business, and had the right vision for the country.
Falwell said in his historic announcement,
“I am proud to offer my endorsement of Donald J. Trump for President of the United States,” Falwell was quoted saying in a statement issued by the Trump campaign. “He is a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again.”
(Photo, screen grab YouTube; via Reuters)