Lawsuit Contends Jerry Falwell Jr. Was No 'Sugar Daddy' to Personal Trainer

Thursday April 1, 2021

Jerry Falwell Jr. and personal trainer Ben Crosswhite
Jerry Falwell Jr. and personal trainer Ben Crosswhite  (Source:YouTube)

In August 2019, Reuters exclusively reported Virginia personal trainer Ben Crosswhite had been authorized by Jerry Falwell Jr., then president of Liberty University, to receive a sweetheart real estate deal.

"Now, after a series of university real estate transactions signed by Falwell, Crosswhite owns a sprawling 18-acre racquet sports and fitness facility on former Liberty property.

Last year, a local bank approved a line of credit allowing Crosswhite's business to borrow as much as $2 million against the property," Reuters wrote.

This week, Crosswhite has sued Reuters for $9.35 million in a defamation lawsuit, Lynchburg television station WSET ABC 13 reported.

The "real estate deal too good to be true," as it was called by the station in a related report last September, stemmed from the relationship between Falwell and his wife Rebecca that began in 2011 when Crosswhite was employed as the couple's personal trainer.

The Crosswhite deal was revealed as the Falwells' came under scrutiny for their relationship with "Giancarlo Granda, a young man they befriended while he was working as a pool attendant at a luxury Miami Beach hotel and later backed in a business venture involving a youth hostel," wrote Reuters.

The powerful couple helped both young men, but with one difference: "When Falwell helped Crosswhite, he used the assets of Liberty, the tax-exempt university he has led since 2008. Among the largest Christian universities in the world, Liberty depends on hundreds of millions of dollars its students receive in federally backed student loans and Pell grants."

"The lawsuit also states that articles referred to Falwell as a 'sugar daddy' to Crosswhite much like former pool boy Giancarlo Granda," adds WSET ABC 13. It also claims that instead of being a sweetheart deal, the terms were not favorable to Crosswhite.

About the time that the original story broke, a video began circulating of Falwell and Crosswhite in an unintentionally funny video of their training.

In it, Falwell is seen pushing Crosswhite from behind as the trainer shouts words of encouragement: "Let's go. Come on. Come on. Lil faster. Come on. Push it. Lil faster. Hehe. Let's go. Come on."

The video first appeared on Crosswhite's Instagram, but was later deleted. Someone else retrieved it and put it on YouTube.

Queerty also located an Instagram of Crosswhite on horseback in the water with the words: "Bucket list check off-riding a horse bareback while it swims in the lake." A person standing in the water next to him appears to be Falwell.

"Until Reuters published the false and defamatory statements at issue in this case, Ben enjoyed an untarnished reputation as a personal trainer and businessman," the lawsuit states. Since then, he has experienced "scorn, ridicule, and public humiliation."

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