Cohen says Melania Trump cast ‘Access Hollywood’ tape as ‘locker room talk’

Michael Cohen testified Monday that it was then-2016 candidate Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, who cast her husband’s comments on an infamous “Access Hollywood” tape as “locker room talk” after it first leaked just before that year’s election.

Cohen, the former attorney-turned-star witness in the Manhattan case against Trump over an alleged hush money scheme, testified that he became aware of the tape on which Trump describes inappropriately grabbing women seemingly without their consent when 2016 campaign press secretary Hope Hicks called him about it.

The former president’s ex-fixer said he was concerned about the tape and sent emails to then-campaign manager Steve Bannon “in order to protect Mr. Trump.”

After several calls with Trump and other campaign staff, Cohen expressed a need to “put a spin on this.”

“The spin he wanted put on it was that this is locker room talk, something that Melania had recommended, or at least he told me 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.

Trump shook his head in disagreement when Cohen spoke of his wife, according to reporters in the room.

The phrase “locker room talk” was also used by the 2016 Trump campaign to defend his remarks as he attempted to reengineer the perceptions of his candidacy, which the tape’s revelations nearly railroaded.

Melania Trump’s office did not respond to a request for comment about Cohen’s testimony.

Trump is on trial over a $130,000 payment made during the 2016 campaign to porn actor Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about allegations of an affair. Trump has denied the affair and any wrongdoing.

Melania Trump has kept a low profile since leaving the White House in 2021, and she has not been spotted at the New York courthouse since the trial began roughly one month ago.

In an October 2016 interview after the “Access Hollywood” tape was first published, Melania Trump told CNN in an interview that the language on the recording surprised her.

“I heard many different stuff — boys talk,” she said. “The boys, the way they talk when they grow up and they want to sometimes show each other, ‘Oh, this and that,’ and talking about the girls. But yes, I was surprised, of course.”

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