Melania Came Up With Trump’s ‘Locker Room Talk’ Excuse, Michael Cohen Says

Alon Skuy/Getty Images
Alon Skuy/Getty Images

Among the weirdest revelations at Donald Trump’s ongoing criminal trial in New York was this snippet from ex-lawyer Michael Cohen: The former president’s “locker room talk” excuse for the leaked Access Hollywood footage of him talking about groping women actually came from his supportive wife, Melania.

Cohen, who appeared Monday on the witness stand, recalled being on vacation in London with his family when dealing with the potentially catastrophic fallout to Trump’s then-sputtering 2016 presidential campaign.

On television screens inside the courtroom, jurors saw how the politician’s staffers fielded questions from The Washington Post as Cohen emailed campaign manager Steve Bannon, “Who’s doing damage control here?”

On the stand, the man who was once Trump’s trusted personal lawyer then recalled speaking to the real-estate mogul himself.

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“He wanted me to reach out to all my contacts in media. We needed to put a spin on this... that this is locker room talk, something that Melania had recommended—that’s what Melania had thought it was—and use that in order to get control over the story and to minimize its impact on him and his campaign,” Cohen testified under oath.

The brief mention of the former first lady stands out at a trial where she has yet to make an appearance in support of her husband—or even provide any public comment as prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office lay out evidence that the tycoon cheated on his wife multiple times, then tried to cover it up to hide the potentially damaging information from American voters while he was a longshot political candidate.

But her tangential involvement in these scandals has dripped out bit by bit, with a White House aide earlier in the trial testifying—perhaps surprisingly—that the typically quiet former model had more control over Trump’s actions than previously known.

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Shortly after a lunch break, Melania came up yet again when prosecutors questioned Cohen on the way his hush money deal with the porn star Stormy Daniels was falling apart in the final weeks before the 2016 election. When a rattled Cohen desperately trying to reach his boss couldn’t get to him to let him know, it was the businessman’s wife who made sure they spoke.

“Good morning Michael, can u pls call DT on his cell. Thanks,” Melania texted him at 8:53 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2016.

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