Support The Bulwark and subscribe today.
  Join Now

BONUS: Cucking Around At The Fontainebleau (with Billy Corben)

October 31, 2022
Notes
Transcript

Billy Corben joins Tim and JVL on this bonus episode of The Next Level to discuss his new documentary, “God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty,” which premieres Nov. 1 on Hulu.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:06

    Hello, and welcome to a bonus addition of the Bulwark’s next level podcast. I’m Tim Miller. I’m here with my best friend, Jonathan B last, and someone that I aspire to be friends with, Billy Corbin. Who is the famous documentarian of the second best ESPN thirty for thirty documentary that you in addition to cocaine cowboys and now out this
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:28

    week, gone for bid a documentary about the fall well, cuckoldery. Billy? How was that entrails? I’m remiss to start the interview with me asking the poster question, but what is the But you played it out there. I mean, you set it up for me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:44

    So what is the first best? Yes. P m thirty four.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:48

    The first best was was once brothers it was the documentary about the Yugoslavian basketball players and how they all got broken up under, you know, draws in Petrovich. And bloody debottch and all that, and they go they go back to Serbia. It’s so good. It it’s about the Serbia Croatia fight between these basketball players who were once on the same team and come to America. It’s so good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:14

    If you haven’t watched one’s for others, it’s I mean, it’s not your fault. That that was just amazing. The you is unbelievable. The you is an awesome doc. A documentary.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:22

    I am partial to the two Escobar because cocaine. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:26

    Yeah. I do like cocaine related documentaries too. JBL, do you have a favorite? Thirty for thirty? No.
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:33

    I do not. I I the the one about Iverson. Right? This is because I’m a I’m an Iverson guy. So there was a thirty to thirty about
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:40

    Iverson that was great. Okay. Billy, I wanna start here. I just I I just we need a little bit of a just a a note at the top of the podcast, if you don’t mind. It’s a personal item of personal privilege, but I just want everybody to listening to now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:55

    That even though there will be some jokes about caccultary, I think, over the next half hour, this is not a podcast that Kink Shames, If you are listening or watching on YouTube and you want to have the pool boy lay the pipe to your spouse, god bless you. I don’t know if you what JBL thinks about that, but at least from my standpoint, I just wanna get that out there. The problem for me arises. The mockery arises when you are masturbating in the corner while also trying to bring about a Christian nationalist authoritarian regime. That is, to me, you know, the the issue at hand.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:33

    So do we have any objections to that little that little preview that will allow us to make fun of Jerry’s follow junior in in good spirit.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:40

    You have to draw the line somewhere. Cristal fascism seems to be a good good line in the sand.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:45

    Okay. Like, give us the background. How’d you I I mean, it’s you know, you’re just watching the preview of this documentary and it’s like, oh my god. Like, how did you get the pool boy? You know, why is everybody willing to participate in this?
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:59

    Like, you know, to tell us how you got to the documentary. So the documentary
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:03

    came to me. It’s one of those stories. First, our office is in Miami Beach. It is eight blocks away from the piece of property that becomes kind of a centerpiece in this scandal. Because without this shady real estate transaction and a dispute over it, amongst this very Miami kind of like Elmore Leonard Karl Hias and Esk, Cohen Brothers Esk kind of said of of characters, we wouldn’t even be here talking about this.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:33

    We wouldn’t even know about this story. And so this had been in our radar since about twenty seventeen and the first story about Jerry Caldwell, the president, his wife, Becky, the first lady of Liberty, the largest Christian university in the world, were owners of this four and a half million dollar piece of of of commercial real estate blocks away from our office that housed a liquor store very much against the the strict, someone say, puritanical liberty way, code of conduct for students and faculty, because there’s no drinking, then it housed what the political described as a gay friendly flop house, end quote, this youth hostile were kind of anything goes, also very much not in keeping with the the spirit or or the the letter of Liberty University’s rules, which don’t allow for same sex couples, which don’t allow for sex outside the sanctity of marriage. Like I said, no drinking, no cohabitating, no cursing, no oriented movies. No music with with profane language really of hip hop band. And descriptions of you hear from students for Netflix and chill or as I now have to call it Hulu and chill, you have female students in their dorm rooms watching a movie and their boyfriends outside on the lawn, you know, like a lawn chair watching through the window, you know, and and because they’re
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:50

    not on its own, man.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:51

    Yeah. So Liberty style. So we it was It was a funny ironic story, but when when shit really got out of hand was when Aaron Rossden, now at Reuters, then at BuzzFeed, wrote an even more sensational follow-up. It’s just when he revealed that there was this litigation that had been filed and that the partner of the fall wells in this property is Jean Carlo Grande, who according to the public records in this court filing was a former pool attendant that the fall well’s net at the Fountainble Hotel while he was working and serving them, by means serving them my drinks and food and towels and servicing them. Mhmm.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:37

    Sure. Yeah. So we’re both, really. And who Becky had given a very good trip advice a review, by the way, too. After we had that in the documentary.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:46

    I was a very prolific TripAdvisor reviewer. And so, anyway, long story even longer, we were just we were like, oh, well, of course, there’s more to this onion appeal because how did this throttling this business throttling, if you will, consummate and and get started here. So really what happened was the blogosphere and the Twitterverse took over and started to impose all kinds of scenarios, which turned out to be not far from the truth in the end. And you
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:16

    just felt like, you know, because this was eight blocks from from you. You just were called. Did those sort of like a mandate from the heavens that you do do a documentary on this?
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:26

    Well, in the summer of twenty twenty, June of twenty twenty. An email came in over the Transom, which means they went to our website, our company website rackingtour dot com, clicked contact us, and it landed in one of those info at, you know, hidden boxes. Now my producing partner, Alfred Spellman, will occasionally check to see if there’s anything interesting going on, and the subject was pool boy. And the author of the — Sure. — the email was Giancarlo Grande.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:54

    I didn’t need to read pool boy. I knew who Giancarlo Grande was. He was a Miami guy, you know. And and so I opened it and It was on Carlo asking if I would be interested in making a documentary and telling his story, which, of course, We were. Pueblo came to you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:12

    Good for
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:13

    Jean Carlo. I wanna show one of the early parts you kind of alluded to this after the infamous TripAdvisor review. This could have just been a little one night stand. Right? It could have been a little one night moment for the fall wells and John Carlisle and just something to think about in their memory box in the bank bank, but they they decided to push forward.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:33

    And one of the things that shocked me the most about this was was in this next clip. Sebastinel, you play the email from Jerry.
  • Speaker 4
    0:07:41

    Until I I got an email on March twenty second, and it actually came from Jerry. It was a picture of us that we took at the Fontainebleau Hotel. It was a picture with me and Becky, and then one with Jerry. He sent the email saying Becky wanted me to send this to you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:56

    Immediately. I was like, who? And
  • Speaker 4
    0:08:00

    she’s like, oh, Jerry follow-up. She she recognized the name. She’s like, isn’t that, like, the famous a pastor or preacher. Wait
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:07

    a minute. Hold on. This cannot be the same people that I’m thinking about right now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:13

    Giancarlo Gabbalam didn’t know who Jerry Falwell was. But his sister he sent it from, like, gerry at jerry falwell dot org or something like that. He didn’t create a fake Gmail for his for his little love life. What was the deal with that? I mean, you saw the actual email, I guess.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:30

    Yeah. And and the email attached to it was a photo that they had taken outside their suite well, on the terrace of their suite at the treasor tower at the fountain below. Beautiful. Suite. And one of the pictures was Giancarlo and Becky and the other one was Jerry and Giancarlo to memorialize their their memorable trip to Miami Beach and the morning after he he hooked up again with them the morning after that that first night to see them off if you will.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:00

    And so that really began according to Sean Carlo a seven year cuckled threesome. With Jerry and Becky and Jean Carlo that then evolved into this business partnership as well, that then evolved into Jean Carlo being treated as a member of their family, as another sibling to their two sons and and young daughter. And John Carlo attended both of their son’s weddings as a guest of the four wells. At one of them, Giancarlo recounts Jerry and Becky staying in the presidential suite at the Greenbrier and he would go up at their son’s wedding and have sex with with Becky.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:41

    Do you
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:41

    feel there’s any thoughts about that? I mean, just like every just like every daughter dreams will be, I suppose. The entire thing is amazing. Out of curiosity, are there any things that stick out to you having lived this story now as just being two bunkers to believe. Like, you know, like, for me, it’s a tiny detail and it’s that the first time that he bangs her, they go to the days in.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:11

    They leave the fountain blue to go to the days in And so these high rollers are just like, yeah, we’ll we’ll go to the days in down the street. And it’s so it’s such a perfect detail, but also is as you say, if this was, you know, if this had been in a novel, we would have thought, oh, man, that is a that’s a great detail. What what knocked your
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:33

    socks off as you were getting into this? Yeah. Well, in this documentary, a lot of things stick out, JBL. A lot of stuff.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:38

    So I
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:39

    just wanna apologize to my mother right now. Please, you can stop listening now. Mhmm.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:44

    This is gonna get worse from here. Anyway, I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:46

    sorry. Billy, go ahead. Don’t worry, Tim. She’s not listening. So my my mother never listens to my podcast either.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:55

    It’s fine. But my mother listens to your podcast. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:01

    Hey. Hey, missus Garvey. Whoa.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:06

    She’s in the corner right now, actually. No.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:08

    No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:10

    So
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:12

    things
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:12

    that suck out to me And it’s like, yes, you happen on a on a really delightful detail because the fall wells were actually, they were all concerned. The fall wells were concerned because they were adult children were staying in rooms also at the Fountain Blue Hotel. And John Carlo was a little concerned basically coming to his workplace after hours and going up to a room, he was concerned about, you know, seeing management or coworkers. And so I think it was kind of a a even though the fallwills came up with the idea, he certainly was was was down for the cause, which is a few blocks south of the fountain blue on Collins Avenue. There are used to be.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:47

    It’s now something else, but it was a days in hotel. And so they definitely downgraded from from the from the fabulous Mountain Blue resort to the days in, but I think, you know, it was kinda like it was certainly good enough to suit their purposes. In fact, they had told Becky, told John Carlo, that night he recounts in the documentary that an earlier evening, they had gone to a swingers club called Miami Velvet, a club made famous by Roger Stone, who was a a a fan and member and frequenter of Miami Deltbit. He in fact conducted interviews at various times in his life and career in Miami, Egypt, with journalists because Miami. And so they that was not their scene though.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:34

    It was too public. They were looking for a more private arrangement, like the one that they had had, you know, fashioned with Wijan Carlo. But to me, I I mean, I was trying to think of something else because for me, the the biggest surprise is a spoiler, you know, way way at the end of the documentary. So I’ll try to to not ruin anything is to just say that when we talked to John Carlo, we didn’t just take his word for it. This was heavily heavily vetted.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:01

    We required as much corroboration as he could provide and certainly things didn’t make the final cut that otherwise would have because we were not satisfied or or our attorneys were not satisfied with the level of corroboration. And so we had copious amounts of text messages I mean, you know, many multitudes of what you see, you know, exerted in the dock, video emails, photographs, many of which are in the dock, but there was a piece of video evidence that comes not only late in the documentary, but very late in their relationship. That is just really revealing and really surprising. And even though we’re only we only used a very, very tiny sample of it. It is much more extensive in in real life, let’s say, and and graphic.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:49

    What it reveals at that late stage of the relationship was pretty stunning to me. And how it corroborates not just what was going on then, but what had gone on for the previous seven years. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:00

    and
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:00

    for that, we’ll need to get the Hulu plus premium edition to get the access to the directors cut in six months. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:07

    Yeah. I can assure you it’s not not gonna be on Disney plus. I’ll tell you
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:11

    that. I’m not interested in this as a homosexual, but I think that whatever the material was that Tom Arnold saw should really be in the Hulu plus plus plus edition because Tom discusses some extensive videos of Becky that I guess he reviewed as part of his, just as part of some work that he was doing obviously. Nothing nothing extracurricular. As
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:34

    peculiar as your preference was to that to that comment. Can we can we just pause for a moment and relish in the absurdity that we’re even talking about Tom Arnold right now? Can we just can we just take a moment? When I stood up from my chair when Tom Arnold
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:49

    appeared in the doc mentory. I was like, yes, now we’re getting from there. Billy, all of these things intersected though. That that’s one of the things I find so fascinating about this story. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:58

    So we have Michael Cohen We have Tom Arnold, formerly the apprentice. We have Jerry Falwell Jr. And and then we we actually went in with Mark Edner who who is junk Carlos, the co author for his book version of this, who is Andrew Breitbart’s writing partner. And it’s you know, it’s like the entire manga
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:18

    world. Let me tell you something about Mark Edwards. It’s an
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:22

    amazing amazing confluence of events. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:24

    think very often, it’s it’s a pretty pretty trite metaphor at this point. Peeling the onion. Right? The layers of it. But this really, really really is that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:36

    And Todd Schulman, our our executive producer, works with Adam McKay. It’s a hyper object. He likens our work or the best of our work Anyway, I hope this ranks among it as a Trojan horse where, you know, if you kind of tempt the audience with the candy, and then we sort of sneak some broccoli in there on you. And so, obviously, I think you get some of the titillating details on this sex scandal certainly. But also, I think, I hope, you know, there’s a macro story in addition to that micro.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:07

    You know, I I always like in coking cowboys, for example, to a mosaic. Right? All of these people that we interview are individual tiles. And when you zoom out, there’s the macro. There’s the skyline in the city of Miami, and there’s this bigger story that we’re telling about how NARCO dollars, you know, essentially built on a major American city or provided the foundation for it anyway.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:28

    And so I hope that we’re doing something similar here. Where you walk away going, oh, shit, I might have learned something from from the sex scandal documentary that I just watched. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:37

    learned something. I wanna get to the broccoli, but when I have one more question about something you first that I just I couldn’t get past. And I guess it doesn’t seem like the fall wells were that cooperative with the documentary. I guess it’s hard to say, but maybe you get a sense for it. The kids thing I mean, the wedding, the Greenbrier story, is titillating and and the obscene.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:55

    But it’s also like, how did the kids not know? I I just don’t understand. They have multiple adult children. Yeah. Like, this Jim Carlo is, like, around all the time now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:05

    He gets invited to the house. He’s going to the wedding. You know, Michael Cohen on to get you next, snips this thing out in about one minute. It seems like and yet the kids have this guy living in their home Yeah. Like, what do you have a sense?
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:18

    Did John Carlo talk to you about that? Like, about the his relationship with the kids and how that
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:23

    The first point that Shawn Karla made, which I found very compelling, is that they were the first family in the of this college campus community, of which they lived in, you know, adjacent to it, not on the campus, but in Lynchburg, Virginia. And invited, they had, you know, very large kind of ranch home on a lake with different houses, at least one if not more confederate cemeteries on the property. And they would invite the campus community to the lake to their home. So, John Carlos said it wasn’t entirely unusual for them have college age, you know, men and women around them. And that was kind of that was part of the the camouflage, if you will, in the cover.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:07

    Also, they were in business together. He was our friend from the fountain blue, was how they introduced him to Donald Trump and Michael Cohen, and the story will get to. And they were they were in fact business partners in this LLC in this major real estate transaction down to Miami Beach and have the added benefit of being true. And one of the partners in the LLC was Jerry Falwell the third Trey, the eldest son of Jerry and Becky. So they did in mesh him into the family and create this gray area where he was like another, you know, another son and, you know, a third son to us and and his sibling to to our children.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:44

    But he told us a story that did not make the final cut, so you get a bit of a deleted scene here at one of the Sun’s weddings. After the reception, in a lobby bar where a great many of the guests had kind of retreated to for the not well, after the afterparty, it’s the hotel lobby. Right? So they’re in the hotel lobby bar there’s, like, a karaoke party Well, I don’t think I don’t think we
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:05

    can do that reference anymore, Billy. I I’m sorry. I I think that that’s canceled. Our Kelly Close but Yeah. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:11

    I feel like that’s been off to requoted, though, enough that we can that we don’t even know. Okay. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:16

    The ignition. Okay. And I’m sorry to interrupt, you know. That’s the after
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:20

    there’s a karaoke party, and John Carlo describes a scene in which Becky is hanging off of him. Like, quite openly at this party. And he’s he he got serious. Like, do people know is this, like, am I the The only one who’s trying to pretend this isn’t happening, and she was just, you know, the social lubrication had obviously taken hold, and he was a little embarrassed by it. So I think it does it does lead to your question of like who knew what and when, but they didn’t talk about it with the kids.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:53

    And whether or not they suspected anything, I just don’t Part
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:56

    of my my thesis is that Jerry never gets brought down except that everybody at liberty hates him. And that he’s basically Kim Jong Moon. Right? He’s the idiot son of a guy who was kind of shrewd And he is, you know, there’s there’s a quote one of the big political pieces about this. Or he said, you know, Liberty is not a school.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:18

    It’s a hedge fund that buys real estate using you know, investment dollars from parents. And, you know, they just convince basically fox watchers and o a n watchers that, you know, college is terrible, send your kids here and then they use the tuition dollars to just buy shopping centers and stuff like that. And follow-up does seem for a very long time. Not like things just went off the rails over the last five years. For almost the entire time seems absolutely hated by everybody even maybe his own brother.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:49

    And so he has no natural allies
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:51

    there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:51

    But but it’s the same Alimera. Right? So everybody at liberty knew what Jerry was doing business wise and just like nobody said anything about it because he would just you know, the the place was a dictatorship. Nobody had ten years. Kids aren’t saying anything because they’re getting daddy’s money.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:07

    Right. And so I wonder if in the family was the same way, the same sort of thing, like, you know, look, everybody know everybody knows the score, but you don’t you don’t rock the boat? Oh, yeah. The the
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:17

    board of trustees, you know, carried an answer to the board. The board answered to him. I mean, it was like gold finger style. I mean, you have you even questioned him? He pressed the button and the trapdoor under your chair would open, and you’d fall.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:28

    Yeah. You’d fall right into the trashy, but didn’t matter how generous you had been, how long you’d been involved with the with the institution. You were done the moment you crossed, Jerry. And all of his immediate family was employed by the university. His children, their spouses, Becky, certainly is brought you know, but certainly all of his immediate family.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:49

    There were certain there are cousins and and and aunts and uncles as well. AND I WILL SAY THIS THAT HIS CHILDREN WERE CLateral DAMAGE IN THIS BECAUSE THEY WERE ALL SHICKANT. JOURNEY FALL OF THE THIRD WAS you know, presumptive heir to the throne just like Jerry junior had been, despite the fact that as you mentioned, he certainly was not the the religious leader that his father was. It was his younger
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:12

    brother,
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:13

    Jonathan, who in fact took over Thomas Road Baptist Church, the religious side of the business. Whereas Jerry junior took over the the presidency of the of the business side of the business or the education side of the business and helped build that institution. Into a multibillion dollar endowment, hundred million dollars in capital campaigns and improvements in construction to the campus. He made a lot of people including himself very rich in and around Lynchburg. And he was to be fair by training and train a real estate attorney.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:42

    So he turned into that that curve. And and as a result, made the camp is beautiful and and state of the art and, of course, made some people, at least, a lot of money. But yeah, I think problem I mean, the kids might be disappointed that their financial future and security is no longer a foregone conclusion as it had been. The
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:02

    one little factoid that makes you think that the kids actually didn’t know, and that they this is these are some sheltered kids which was I think my favorite little factoid in the in the documentary was that that their mother was missing so often on vacations. They made t shirts. That said wears Becky, and they wore these t shirts. So anyway, that leads one to believe that maybe they weren’t in on the joke. Like, if they really knew mom was getting banged by their buddy, Giancarlo.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:30

    I don’t know that they would have made tea that that would that would, I guess, it could be another layer of debauched family relationships. If they if they made teachers just a troll or over her love life. I think that seems unlikely. But who knows? We
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:44

    tried to find, like, a photo of of them wearing the shirts or to know what the design looks like we were unable to we’re unable to find it. But that factoid that Sean Carlo shared with us in his interview was corroborated by the fall wells in an interview that they gave, in fact. They joked about those shirts that they had had Okay. One guy that did sniff it out was Michael Cohen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:08

    I wanna get into the politics of this for the last little bit. Sebastian, he played the clip. Michael Cohen
  • Speaker 4
    0:24:13

    approached me, and Donald Trump is gonna run for president. And they want my endorsement. I didn’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:20

    take it
  • Speaker 4
    0:24:21

    serious. I’m like, you can’t be serious. Right? Like, it’s probably for ratings. There’s no way he’s and running.
  • Speaker 4
    0:24:26

    It’s like, no. No. He really wants to run, and we believe that he can actually
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:31

    win. If
  • Speaker 4
    0:24:32

    Jerry was gonna get him more involved of politicians just like how dad did. He had to ensure that all the sense for The
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:39

    boys, I talked to the boys, and the boys, told me to talk to the four walls and the boss. Sorry. I’m sorry.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:47

    So you so you learn pretty quickly. That Michael Cohen snips this relationship out that’s as somebody who’s been part of some some shoddy business deals, you know, all of a sudden he’s like, so. These two went into business at the fountain balloon with the pool boy. I don’t I don’t know. I have Michael Collins left a wrap very quickly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:05

    And and was able to gather, I guess, some pretty incriminating material that he may or may not have shared with Tom Arnold. And but but the the the interesting part of this to me is not just that Cohen sniffed out, you know, this thing that was secret for seven years so quickly, but also that The doc pretty strongly implies that that that this was used as leverage to get fall well to endorse Trump in the in the in the primary. Like, what what’s your sense of that?
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:35

    Well, Michael Cohen now and and the four wells. Always deny that there was any quid pro quo here. But Michael Cohen told a slightly different story in his book. And that was during a time when, of course, he was, you know, had been excommunicated from Trump World and the fall wells were still very much within it. Now that they’re all pariahs, I think I suspect that they have remed again.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:01

    They’ve made that, you know, that friendship connection again. And so he’s a he kind of pulls his punches a little bit more now when it comes to this story. But I will say that first and foremost Michael Cohen was known as the fixer because he fix it. I mean, he, you know, he earned that that title. It was you know, we we think of him now as sort of a character or a character sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:22

    But he that was his legitimate role in the Trump organization. And he went everywhere with Trump, including to Liberty University in two thousand twelve for this event. Where Sean Carlo was also in the green room, accompanied them on a private tour that Trump got from the fall wells and and John Carlo describes how Michael Cohen looked at him sideways, our friend from the fountain blue. Who is this twenty year old? Kid who’s not a student at liberty, like, how do they know this guy?
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:51

    What is he doing here for crying out loud? And that was kind of his Right? That was his sixth sense. That was his job was to identify people, their weakness, the tomorrow term, Compromont, if you will, and and be able to have that not for his advantage, but for divorce. And so he he recounts in his book that when Jerry and Becky because they maintained this relationship from twenty twelve.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:17

    You know, that was the other thing too. Like Michael Cohen, when he thought there were useful relationships and connections for the boss, he would maintain that friendship. You know, you know, Donald, you know, texting Jerry and Becky, you hadn’t Michael kind of keeping that ball in the air in the event that that would become useful at some point. And what it actually became useful for Jerry and Becky first because when they got involved in this real estate transaction in Miami and they these friends of John Carlo who helped them in this real estate transaction came forward and said, hey, we didn’t get our you know, the piece of the action that we were promised, they were claiming that they knew the truth about this relationship between Jerry and Becky and John Carlo. And that they had photographs, incriminating photographs that could help prove their case.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:02

    And if they don’t want them to file a lawsuit, making this dispute and these allegations public and thus compromising I mean, their their lives and reputations, they would settle this matter forthwith. And so Jerry freaked out, called Michael Cohen and said, hey, can you help us out? Michael Cohen made some calls and to his credit and to his claim as a fixer, it went away for a while. He made this conflict disappear. The pictures never saw the light of day, but then, of course,
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:33

    Michael Cohen was
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:34

    in possession of these photos. And he did in fact show at least one if not more of them to Tom Arnold because that’s how weird this story get. Yeah. There’s two
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:43

    ways in which the fall wells are kind of, you know, somewhat one of the things that are responsible for our dystopian maga life, right, that we live in right now. One is this, like this butterfly effect of of Michael Cohen having this leverage, maybe a quid pro quo, maybe not. But the other thing you talk about is that, like, Trump really is was appealing to Jerry because he’s kind of a televangelist. I I thought that was an interesting kind of observation. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:10

    Like, there is you know, on one level, you’re like, oh, Trump is so unchristian. Like, what was the appeal there? On the other hand, it’s kind of like, Trump and the televangelists have a
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:18

    lot in comment. Actually. But Jerry was drawn to that. And Jerry was a real estate magnate. You know, Jerry fashions himself, you know, a bit of a of a Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:27

    And so there wasn’t an organic kinship there. And in fact, Jerry Junior will tell you that he was going to endorse Trump regardless or irregardless as we say in Miami, because we’re irrelevant. Though I use it here ironically. But it would have been much more organic for Jerry to endorse in that primary ten cruise. Who was, of course, not only an evangelical Christian, but his father is a pastor.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:50

    Ted Cruz, in fact, announced his presidential run at Liberty University and a convocation there. He thought he had it that endorsement in the bag and it was Jerry Junior. The first evangelical leader to endorse a twice divorced, liberal, democrat playboy from New York City of all places might as well be Osman and Gamora. And a man with five children from three different women as their candidate, like the last guy you would think, and that keep the door open. I mean, that was the first domino really that fell.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:25

    That made Donald Trump the candidate of the evangelicals, the voting block, who have helped elect every Republican president since Ronald
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:33

    Reagan. And all while he and his supporters complained that anybody who didn’t support Trump was a cock. That’s the the the the best part of all of this. Right? It’s the the, you know, projection is a sincerest form of Trumpism.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:46

    Right. You know, but this is this actually really hits one of Trump’s really keen powers is sensing weakness. Right? And so the evangelicals were gonna be a tough nut for him to crack. And so what you do is, you know, what Trump did was he zoomed in on the weakest guy he could find and turned him.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:06

    And the cuckest Right. A cock a guy who’s so submissive that the first time his wife is banging another dude when he goes over to get closer, John Carlo says to him, hey, step off, bro. And and Jerry’s like, oh, sorry. Sorry. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:17

    You know, that’s how submissive he is, sir. And, anyway, but but the genius of Trump is that he did understand that if you can move a couple evangelicals, then the pressure on everybody else to throw in, just ratchets up further and further and further And eventually, it’ll be the Russell Moores who get kicked out of the movement for not supporting him. Right? They, you know, they will be the ones who pay the price not him. Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:42

    And so that’s like it’s a the piece of animal coming that he has. Every accusation is a
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:47

    confession, you know? So when you hear cock, when you hear sheep, I mean, in the church, they are called a flock for a reason. It is a very powerful echo chamber. And when you get that endorsement, when you get that, like, whatever you thought you knew about Trump, that he’s a Libtard, that he’s an abortionist, that he’s a democrat, it suddenly goes out the way because this person of power. And that’s the thing about Jerry, despite the fact that he wants to play it off that, well, I’m not the, you know, the I don’t have the religiosity of my father.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:17

    I’m not a a Christian leader. He certainly he certainly relished in the power of the pulpit. He enjoyed that discrepancy, that like, okay. I don’t I’m not a real Christian, but I’ll tell all these Christian what you and I think that’s important to note here as well as this documentary is not about Christians and Christianity. This is about people who exploit Christians and Christianity for power and profit.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:39

    And that’s the the real disconnect here is this idea of this holier than thou hypocrisy. I don’t care about what they’re into sexually. I’m from Miami. God, like, that’s the point of Miami. Like, come down come down here and live your best life.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:55

    I mean, if you want it I mean, come down your party. This
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:58

    is actually we’re we’re at it out of time, but I wanted to ask you this really quick. Do you think that the followers part of the reason they felt free there was in Miami? Because I was watching this and I’m like, you know, how many people at the fountain blue really really know what’s happening at liberty? Right? Like, in some ways, it might have felt a little bit like they were they were safer there because of the culture.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:15

    They felt
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:16

    anonymous there in New York too. And and and, you know, I always say that Los Angeles is where you go when you wanna be somebody. New York is where you go when you are somebody. And Miami is where you go when you wanna be somebody else. It’s just it’s it’s always been a sunny place for shady people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:31

    It’s always been that Vegas esque. What happens in Miami? Stays in Miami. They came down here, they lived their best life. God bless them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:39

    I think the the rug there, yeah, no pun intended, is is of course is of course this holier than thou hypocrisy. I think we’ve seen how dangerous it is when leaders be it in academia, politics, Corporate America, when when the philosophy is due, as I say, not as I do. The rules, the laws, they don’t apply to me, they apply to everyone else. That gets incredibly dangerous. The idea that we should put women in prison for having abortions, but the men who finance them should go to the United States Senate.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:14

    There is certainly some disconnect between the flock and the leadership. And to that end, you know, the people at liberty University, I
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:19

    think, were collateral damage here. If all of this unspooled today, do you think fall well still gets driven out of Liberty? Because my sense is that that world has basically now fully accommodated themselves to the idea of hypocrisy in the surface of power. And where Liberty I mean, it took God knows a a ton of people and, like, high up people within, you know, wasn’t the AP that drove a fall out of liberty. It was the trustees and and other Christians there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:49

    I don’t know that that movement would would be there today. What do you think? I
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:55

    think that Jerry Falwell was one of those dominoes that helped us get to here, meaning his downfall in that scandal. So without it, we might have skipped a step in terms of of this moment in history. But I will see two things about that first of which is that, as I said, the Liberty kind of campus community, students and faculty who were collateral damage here in terms of, you know, diminishing the value of their degree, diminishing the reputation of the institution. There are people who were Pure of heart there who are true believers in the gospels and in the mission of that university. And so I think that Jerry Paulwell Jr.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:31

    Failed them. And I think he’d build them then and I think he would have failed them now. So I think this would have been the inevitable outcome of that. That said, we live in a time We are old enough to appreciate that. I know everybody listening will be, but where we can turn on the TV right now and watch Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker preaching on television.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:50

    That has had I never thought. I would I would live long enough to see that day. So he is very much from a culture of forgiveness and of second and third acts. And so I would not be surprised that this was not the last that we saw. Of
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:05

    Jerry
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:05

    and Becky. Me neither. I do and the spirit of holier
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:06

    than than now hypocrisy, I need to come clean about something. This has brought up this documentary brought up a memory that I that I had touched away that is a closeted homosexual in Virginia, in Lynchburg, in, I don’t know, the early aughts. I was at a bar with some Liberty Kids, including a young woman. And we drove back to Liberty Campus at which point I thought we were gonna have, like, an after party that I didn’t I didn’t really realize the rules of the liberty way at the time. And I was informed on the drive back about all the limitations, about what one could do, you know, go back to your dorm and hang out, can’t even play a board game in the same room as her she you could I could feel her tension in the car and we get there and I get a very heavy make out, very wet, heavy make out followed by kind of like looking around the window, followed by getting out of the car and being like, let’s still keep in touch.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:03

    And I’m like, I I don’t know. I was like, we’ve got a lot of problems in this situation. Actually, it’s a geared dorm room. I’m not dealing with my situation. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:08

    don’t know if we should
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:09

    keep in touch. So I wanna apologize to that young woman for leaving her on, but I I do feel like that experience just that one hour getting an insight into just Like, it is bullshit. Right? It is gross. Like, the culture, you know, and I think it has negative ramifications as funny as that story is on the on the mental health.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:28

    Of people who are dealing with this, who are living on campus struggling to either deal with their sexuality, dealing with sexual abuse in certain cases or harassment, while these assholes are down there, cutting around at the fountain blow. And that is bullshit. And and I do feel bad for those kids on that front. And in addition to the kids who believe this stuff genuinely. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:47

    mean, they are being punished. They’re being fined. They’re monetary fines. Under the code of student conduct. So your your economic stability is being is at risk your, you know, there’s suspension expulsion, your academic, and future prospects are put at risk.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:03

    As a result of the very behavior that Jerry and Becky are I mean, they they they looked at the at the ten commandments as like a bucket list. As like, they’re like they’re like they’re like they’re like they’re like ten commandments. Ten commandments are like hashtag goals. You know, they’re like, let’s cross. Let’s let’s cross these things off one after the other.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:21

    And in in an odd way, they even got to the biggie. THOUGHT NOT KILL ON JANUARY six. SO THEY MADE IT THROUGH THEY MADE IT THROUGH THAT LIST. Reporter: ALL RIGHT, WELL, ON THAT NOTepad, Billy, FINAL
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:31

    QUESTION IS THE U BACK. They they have recruited the number one quarterback in the country. They stole them from Florida, which I love as an LSU Tiger fan. Can the u be back?
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:43

    We are entering, I think, what is it, our third consecutive rebuilding decade. But, yes, I I think if anybody can do it Mario Cristobal, can and I I believe in crystal ball and I’m look I’m looking into my crystal ball right now and I see I see the future of the canes and I I I trust the system. I trust the process. Awesome. I love that I love that
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:05

    Ken Dorsey team, one of my favorite non LSC teams of all time, maybe my favorite. Thank you, stuff, Billy. It’s been so awesome. Let’s do it again. That’s been a good show, pretty long show, JBL.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:16

    Any final thoughts? Thank god, Sarah wasn’t here. Thank god, Sarah wasn’t here. Alright, everybody. Thank you for listening to the next level podcast in the Bulwark, Billy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:23

    We’ll talk to you soon. Good night and good cup. See you, man.
Want to listen without ads? Join Bulwark+ for an exclusive ad-free version of The Next Level Podcast! Learn more here. Already a Bulwark+ member? Access the premium version here.