Jerry Falwell Jr's claim sharing his damaging emails is a 'criminal conspiracy' is 'totally insane': legal expert
Jerry Falwell, Jr. is going to have a hard time convincing federal law enforcement authorities to investigate his latest embarrassing scandal, what he is calling the “theft” of his emails. The Liberty University and Liberty School of Law president is labeling the sharing of emails he has not explicitly denied writing a “criminal conspiracy.” Some of those emails, published in the press, are proving increasingly embarrassing.
The incriminating documents show Falwell has made derogatory comments about faculty and staff, including calling one student “emotionally imbalanced and physically retarded,” a group of students who opted to work out at an off-campus gym “social misfits,” and his school’s police chief a “a half-wit” who is “easy to manipulate,” according to an article in Reuters.
That’s in addition to a damaging article Monday in Politico, which detailed Falwell’s “culture of fear” at Liberty, some racy photos, Falwell allegedly partying with his son Trey at a Miami nightclub, and the Christian university president allegedly bragging about the size of his penis to at least one school official.
Falwell on Tuesday, claiming he was the target of an “attempted coup,” said the FBI would be investigating the “theft” of his emails.
“Liberty owns every single one of those emails,” Falwell told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “It’s our property. They were working for us when they used our server. And our policies make it clear every email sent on our server is owned by Liberty and if anybody shares it with anybody outside Liberty, it is theft. And so that’s the underlying crime.”
“The emails are stolen property,” Falwell told CNN, as Talking Points Memo reported, “and the fact that all these people in different states are joining together and sharing stolen emails with the press makes it a criminal conspiracy.”
Former federal prosecutor disagrees
Reuters, which published excerpts of some of Falwell, Jr.’s emails, notes the ones they were given access to were sent from an Earthlink email domain.
The AP reports the FBI is not commenting, but cybercrime expert and former federal prosecutor Nick Akerman is.
Ackerman “said Falwell’s assertion of a criminal conspiracy is ‘totally insane,'” the AP notes. “Akerman said the ex-board members and employees can share emails with reporters as long as they had authorized access to them and didn’t hack into someone else’s account. He said trade secrets are also protected under the law, but Liberty wouldn’t be able to make a case there either.”
“I don’t think any law enforcement agency is going to be interested in this one,” said Akerman, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney.