May 13, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Michael Cohen: Melania Trump cast Access Hollywood tape as "locker room" talk

Donald Trump, arrives at the home of billionaire investor John Paulson, with former first lady Melania Trump, on April 6, 2024 in Palm Beach, Florida.

Donald and Melania Trump on April 6 in Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Alon Skuy/Getty Images

Former President Trump's onetime fixer, Michael Cohen, testified Monday that it was Melania Trump's idea to characterize Trump's comments on the infamous Access Hollywood tape as mere "locker room" talk.

Why it matters: Audio from the tape — in which Trump is heard boasting about groping women — surfaced just one month before the 2016 election and sparked a swift backlash, but it ultimately failed to keep Trump out of the White House.

The big picture: Cohen testified Monday during Trump's ongoing criminal hush money trial that he spoke to Trump on the day the tape released, CNN reported.

  • Trump wanted Cohen to reach out to his media contacts to put a spin on the story, he said.
  • "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, per CNN.

Flashback: "This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago," Trump said in a 2016 statement released by his campaign in the wake of the tape's release, AP reported.

  • Melania Trump told CNN in 2016 that Trump's language in the tape was inappropriate but that he had been "egged on" by then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush to engage in "boy talk."
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