Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, offered his services to evangelical leader and Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. in 2015, helping him handle a fraught situation involving risqué photos that got into the wrong hands, Reuters reports.
Cohen discussed the matter during a conversation in March with comedian Tom Arnold, who secretly recorded their chat. In the audio reviewed by Reuters, Cohen is heard describing the photos as "personal," the type kept "between husband and wife." He also said he had one of the photos, and "it's terrible."
Two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that Cohen became close to Falwell during Trump's presidential campaign, and that's how he learned someone had Falwell's photos and was demanding money in exchange for them. Cohen went to Florida and met with that unnamed person's attorney, Reuters reports, and the pictures were ultimately destroyed.
In 2016, it was Cohen who convinced Falwell to endorse Trump ahead of the Iowa caucuses, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Cohen's role in securing Falwell's key endorsement had already been reported by BuzzFeed News. Falwell supported Trump throughout the campaign, including when the Access Hollywood tape featuring Trump bragging about grabbing women was made public. Falwell declined to comment to Reuters. Cohen started a three-year prison sentence on Monday, after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations and lying to Congress. Catherine Garcia