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Transcript: Jerry Falwell Jr. on Virginia Talk Radio Network | July 20th, 2020

Jerry Falwell Jr. was on WIQO, part of the Virginia Talk Radio Network, this morning and talked about the $10 million lawsuit against the New York Times. Falwell got into the details of the lawsuit. Listen below or read the transcript.

VA Talk Radio Network · Jerry Falwell Jr 7 – 20 – 2020

Intro Speaker 0:01
Now back to more of the morning show on Virginia’s talk station. WIQO

Brian Wiegand 0:13
it is a 36 here on the morning show Matt and Brian with you. And right now we are going to speak with Jerry Falwell Jr. He is the president of course of Liberty University. We will get to the more substantive bit of the conversation first but Jerry, Good morning. Welcome back to the program.

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 0:32
Thank you for having me, Brian.

Brian Wiegand 0:34
A pleasure. So, but first, let’s talk about what you’re doing this weekend and let me just bust out to the cliched opening. Did you see any Great Balls of Fire or was there a whole lot of shaking going on or anything like that? Tell us

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 0:46
you know, it’s really funny. Um, you remember Robbie Heiner? Who are Yeah. My dad bill school when I was a kid I was a teenager by traveled around on World War Two DC three. We went from City auditorium the city auditorium letting people know about the new college that has been started in Lynchburg. But Robin at Robbie has a studio in town. So he and I got together and we recorded. First time I’ve ever sang in my whole life. We recorded Great Balls of Fire. We I got it turns out, I’m a good friend with Jerry Lewis, his best friend. And so he invited us down there. So we went down to Memphis, Friday and Saturday and went over to Jerry Lee’s ranch then went over to his house next day, and we sat down with him and his wife and with Jerry Lee and his wife and we, we played that recording and he loved it. He was laughing, clapping and he’s 84 but he’s in good shape.

Brian Wiegand 1:52
You know, it’s gotta be gratifying. You know, someone just comes to your house and has a recording of what is I guess his biggest hit?

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 2:00
We told him we recorded it just in honor of him and we. He may come, he may come to Liberty this fall and do his last concert.

Brian Wiegand 2:11
No, that would be that would be pretty cool though. You got to send us your demo tape of that so we can use it for bumper music.

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 2:16
All you gotta do is go to my Instagram, Jerry Falwell, Jr. There you go. It’s right there.

Brian Wiegand 2:21
All right, cool. All right. Let’s get into more of the main meat of the conversation here. Liberty University has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the New York Times and as we detailed in the last half hour This is from that story back at the end of March, popped up on a Sunday with the headline. Liberty University brings back students after spring break and Coronavirus to a few hours later that headline was changed to and Coronavirus fears as well we talked with Dr. Thomas Epps who’s quoted in the story. And he mostly told us he thought that the woman ended up not understanding what he had tried to walk her through and that she thought any sort of upper respiratory infection maybe it was the coronavirus, but I take it since you filed a lawsuit. You don’t think this is incompetence? You think this is malice?

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 3:04
It was she was here for several days and show you how dumb they were. I took pictures of the no trespassing signs and publish them. So we got warrants sworn out for their arrest and you know, they had to cut a deal with local prosecutors to get out of that. And they they didn’t talk to us the whole time we were here and Dr. Epps told her, told a reporter Elizabeth Williamson to talk to a campus doctor who really was in charge of student health. Even though this woman, Elizabeth printed that Dr. Epps 10 miles away from campus was in charge of student health. Not true. None of that was true. So she made it all up. She didn’t talk to us until Sunday when she got back to New York. called us in the afternoon had story already written We scrambled to get a few comments to her but but she published at three o’clock and it was all set up and she’s, it’s, I just think the New York Times has degenerated into her BuzzFeed type clickbait publication and it’s sad, sad to see that happen. But you know, I got the best lawyer in New York. He’s represented Elan musk. He’s represented Donald Trump. He’s represented sean hannity Sean’s a one introduced me to them. But he’s I’m glad he’s on my side. I wouldn’t want I wouldn’t be I wouldn’t want him coming up to me put it that way.

Brian Wiegand 4:40
Now let’s talk a little bit more about that because they just from talking about what I’ve read it, I kind of think you ever reporter who kind of had an idea of what the story she was going to write was and as soon as she got to the information that seemed to confirm it, that’s what she went with. But that that’s probably not enough to get you over the bar mean for an institution of public purpose. Like this, that’s gonna be pretty tough to show that, you know, they intentionally lied and dilla did it maliciously.

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 5:06
When you say there’s 1212 cases of students with covert symptoms when there’s zero, and you and you lie about who the doctor was, he talked to reckless disregard for the truth with New York Times versus solvent. That’s, you know, that’s the bar. So our lawyer, he would not have filed a suit. If he didn’t take it could win it. And it’s gonna be it’s gonna be interesting to watch.

Brian Wiegand 5:38
Yeah, how much of this is is going to turn on on what you’re able to find in discovery?

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 5:43
Yeah, I mean, a lot of I mean, it’s, you know, it’s just that newspapers just used to be respected and it’s I don’t know what we’ll find out but but our lawyer Michael bovee is Like I said, He’s the best in the country. And he’s he. He feels good about it. He thinks he thinks it’s a winnable case.

Brian Wiegand 6:09
You only we talked, as I said, with rich Kelsey in the last half hour. I mean, how high the bar is, and that it’s gonna be hard to get over. But he did think the lawsuit was crafted by us as well as it might have been to get there. But, you know, once again, it’s still one heck of a burden went Do you know, when exactly the discovery process is going to start?

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 6:29
It’s the lawsuits been served, and it’s Lynchburg Circuit Court. Because one of the defendants is in Richmond, Virginia. It can’t be moved to federal court by the New York Times. So it’s got to come down here and fight it. And, you know, that’s something I’m sure they don’t want to do. But we just, you know, we think that the man is not gonna If it’s gonna be a slow process, no question about it. But it’s, it’s, like I said we wouldn’t have filed it if we didn’t think it was wonderful.

Brian Wiegand 7:09
Speaking with Jerry Falwell, Jr, president of Liberty University here on the morning show, now, is there any sort of a business analyst that that you have been directly harmed as far as an entity that you had students who did not attend school that has cost you money, that kind of thing?

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 7:26
Well, who knows? I mean, we are we’re at record enrollment, but we might have more. But, but we’ve already said we’re gonna donate any winnings to charities that help cover victims. And so we now My goal is to in the United Kingdom, New York, there’s no there’s no standard like New York Times versus Sullivan here. They don’t have to prove if you’re a public figure. You don’t have to. You don’t have to prove malicious intent or reckless disregard for the truth like you do. In the United States, and so our goal is to get near times versus Sullivan reversed. And it’s Yes, that’s a pretty ambitious goal. And I but it’s it’s really that lawsuits is that that decision was a license to lie about public figures. And it’s been going on for too long in this country.

Brian Wiegand 8:24
We it wasn’t there. Wasn’t there a case before the Supreme Court this year that turned on on Sullivan. And one of the justices was it was it Clarence Thomas, who wanted to overturn it. Really? No, no. Okay. Yeah, I just it just occurred me as you had said that there. And as far as the trespassing goes, do you think that is going to help law so even that didn’t end up, you know, going anywhere as far as, you know, legal outcome,

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 8:49
the prosecutor and I talked and we, we didn’t want to we just want to make the point that they came on campus and Because we had no trespassing signs, there were 20 of them. And it was they were there to protect our students because we didn’t have at that time, we didn’t have any cases in Lynchburg. And so and we never did have any on campus. But, you know, the fact that they came from hotspots and walked right past there’s no trespassing signs is that, you know, we just we couldn’t let that go. We had let parents see that we were taking the safety of their children. Seriously. Alright, so

Brian Wiegand 9:33
let’s turn our attention to something else that is gripping the country right now and that is what is going to happen with college football. Your first Liberty’s first games was due to be at Virginia Tech. There is some thought now that the ACC may go to one to a variation on this conference only but maybe an extra game against the SEC. They’re trying to have these pods so they’re limiting travel so much but as far as I know, the only ACC school they have Shorter trip to Blacksburg is UVA. Do you think that game is still gonna be played?

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 10:05
I don’t know. But I do know that our ad has, he’s been watching what’s happening with these other conferences, I was on a phone call with all the Atlantic Sun presidents week, this week or so ago. And, you know, we think it might be an opportunity for liberty because the independent schools, I’ve gotten calls from an independent university presidents and, you know, all of us, conferences are only gonna play each other. And we need to, we need to do the same thing. So we, we may end up playing some pretty big name teams. Otherwise we wouldn’t have played because of what the conferences are doing by limiting their games to conference play. So we don’t know yet. But we think it’s going to end up come it’s going to end up being a positive for liberty, but who knows between now and the fall. You know, you gotta have somebody play you can’t have a football season the other schools have to.

Brian Wiegand 11:07
Yeah, there’s gotta gotta have two teams for a game certainly. Now the miac has decided they’re not going to play. So that’s your home opener North Carolina a&t. And then in one decision, our schedule is gonna be totally different, right. And now, the colonial Athletic Association is taking a different tack. They’re not going to have conference gains, they basically told the schools do whatever you want. You know, there’s three Virginia schools JMU, Richmond, and William and Mary, do you think you might end up playing any of them?

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 11:36
We’re talking to independent schools, okay. And so, there’s a lot of big name independent schools, and, you know, that could all fall apart if you know this different Governor’s make rules or if the NCAA makes rules that don’t exist right now. But, but the teams we’re talking to, if it all works out, like we Thank you. It’s gonna be an exciting season.

Brian Wiegand 12:03
And so do you want to drop a couple of names on us here this morning? Can you do that yet?

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 12:07
Are you going to look up independent NCAA schools? And there’s only there’s only eight or 10. So you’ll see right there I’m talking about.

Brian Wiegand 12:17
Alright, very good. Jerry Falwell, Jr, president of Liberty University. Thanks for joining us this morning.

Jerry Fallwell Jr. 12:23
Great to be with you, Brian. Have a good day. You too.

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