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"There is something odd here"

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“There is something odd here”

by digby


This story
has been swirling around for some time, but the new details are just … amazing:

The sun was setting at the Cheeca Lodge resort in Islamorada when Jerry Falwell Jr. smiled for the camera, a national evangelical leader nearing 50 posing next to a young man he had met poolside in Miami Beach.

The photograph shows Giancarlo Granda, a handsome, 20-something pool attendant whom Jerry and his wife, Rebecca, 52, befriended at the Fontainebleau hotel in 2012, and within months, would set up as part-owner and manager of a $4.7 million South Beach hostel.

It was an unusual partnership: The president of the largest Christian university in the world, a school that prohibits gay sex, agreeing to operate a Miami Beach hostel, regarded as gay friendly, in conjunction with a “pool boy” with virtually no hotel management experience after they met at the storied Fontainebleau, a favored South Florida vacation ground for the Falwells. Yet there they were, not only business partners but mingling socially at Cheeca, an idyllic, exclusive resort in the Keys.

The relationship between the Falwells and Granda forms the backdrop of an improbable Miami story that is causing political ripples beyond South Florida. It involves a multimillion-dollar lawsuit, the “pool boy” as he is described in the lawsuit, the comedian Tom Arnold, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s now imprisoned political fixer, naked photographs — and a Miami father and son who say they were defrauded in a real estate deal then forced to change their names due to “threats.”

It’s a sideshow to the 2020 political campaign that’s just getting started with the first Democratic debate scheduled next week in Miami.

Falwell, 57, who took over the mantle of Liberty University following the death of his father, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Sr., has denied the suggestion that in 2015 he sought help from Cohen, who told Arnold in a surreptitiously taped conversation that he embarked on a mission to recover “personal” photographs involving the Falwells.

Cohen has acknowledged performing delicate chores for the future president of the United States, including paying off his alleged paramours with hush money — to prevent the release of embarrassing personal photographs in the past. In his only known interview about the subject, first reported by Reuters and BuzzFeed, Falwell denied the existence of photographs involving himself.

“This report is not accurate,” Falwell told the Todd Starnes radio show. “There are no compromising or embarrassing photos of me.”

Three photographs have been seen by the Herald, however. They are images not of Falwell, but of his wife in various stages of undress. It is not known who took the photographs or when they were taken, and the Herald was not given the photographs and therefore has not been able to authenticate them independently. Two of the photographs appear to have been taken at the Falwells’ farm in Virginia, and a third at the Cheeca Lodge.

The timing of Cohen’s alleged photo-recovery mission roughly preceded Falwell’s pivotal evangelical endorsement of Trump in the 2016 Republican primary, which Cohen says he helped engineer. Ted Cruz, who became the last candidate standing in the fight to deprive Trump of the Republican nomination, wanted to land that endorsement for himself. That he didn’t get it remains a sore point with some of his backers and a source of curiosity, including speculation that the “pool boy” saga and the presidential endorsement could be somehow related.

“You have the chancellor of the largest Christian university in the world in South Beach, which is not exactly a hot spot for evangelicals to take a vacation, [who buys] a piece of property for someone with no business experience. There is something odd there,’’ said Rick Tyler, former spokesman for Cruz.

There’s more at the link.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of this story about another one of Trump‘s intimates:

The peculiar unhappiness of Paul Manafort’s family life is described in excruciating detail in 285,000 text messages from an iPhone belonging to one of his daughters. The messages were posted by hackers on the darkweb last year and provided several damaging stories about Manafort. He goes on trial today, charged with evading tax on tens of millions of dollars from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. Now, the texts have been published in their entirety on the ordinary internet, where they can easily be searched and read. Previously, Manafort had confirmed the authenticity of some of the messages to Politico. They appear to reveal the private face of the man who was Donald Trump’s campaign manager. It is not a flattering picture.

One daughter purportedly tells another that their father regularly made their mother have sex with a “room full of men”. (It appears that the texts are reproduced with the same spelling and punctuation as originally written.)

“dad tapes it all”

“Poor mom”

“Dad is a sex addict”

Yet more bizarrely, it seems both parents shared these painful secrets with their (grown-up) daughters in an attempt to save their marriage.

“he has too many skeletons, he can’t have a public divorce.”

“the issue was he wanted her to WANT to have the group sex and got upset she didn’t”

“Has mom been tested for STDs?”

It is not merely prurient to reproduce these intensely private exchanges. Paul Manafort was no grey functionary fleetingly hired by Trump to run his campaign, as the White House tried to persuade people when he was charged. It always seems wrong to say of Trump that he has “friends,” but Manafort moved in the same social circles, where it appears that group sex, public sex, or just weird sex was not unusual. This may matter because President Trump now faces allegations that a foreign power, Russia, is blackmailing him with sex tapes.

The situation with the Falwells may be even more uhm … complicated.

Wingnut scolds are always kinky aren’t they?.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !