Cohen testified at Trump trial that 2016 'locker room talk' spin about 'Access Hollywood' tape was Melania's idea

 May 14, 2024

When the infamous 2005 "Access Hollywood" audio was leaked one month before the 2016 election, in which then-candidate Donald Trump was heard speaking explicitly about what some star-struck women allow male celebrities to do to them, the Trump campaign downplayed the shocking language as "locker room talk."

That particular spin to defend against sharp criticism over the audiotape was the idea of future first lady Melania Trump, according to former President Trump's disreputable ex-attorney Michael Cohen, ABC News reported.

The claim from Cohen came during testimony on Monday in Trump's New York criminal trial, where the disgraced former lawyer and convicted perjurer is the star witness for the prosecution.

Cohen testified about leak of "Access Hollywood" tape

During Cohen's testimony on Monday, he spoke about the leak of the 2005 "Access Hollywood" hot-mic audio in early October 2016, just one month ahead of the presidential election, and how it was widely believed that the tape "was going to be significantly impactful, especially with women voters."

He testified about various phone calls between himself, Trump, and others to discuss how to handle the negative news, and asserted that Trump "wanted me to reach out to all of my contacts in the media -- we needed to put a spin on this."

"And the spin that he wanted to put on it was that this is locker room talk," the ex-personal attorney and "fixer" for then-businessman Trump added.

Campaign's spin was "something that Melania had recommended"

According to The Hill, Cohen then testified that the "locker room talk" spin that the Trump campaign ultimately settled on as a defense against criticism of the audiotape had been the idea of Trump's wife, Melania.

"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 claimed.

The outlet observed that, according to reporters in the courtroom, Trump signaled his disagreement with Cohen's testimony by shaking his head while the purported role of his wife was discussed.

Melania's initial 2016 reaction to leaked tape

For what it is worth, CNN reported in October 2016, just weeks after the "Access Hollywood" tape was released, that Melania Trump was admittedly "surprised" by what she'd heard on the leaked recording but believed that it was nothing more than "boy talk" about women that her husband had been "egged on" by the show's host into saying aloud.

Asked by Anderson Cooper if she'd ever heard similarly explicit sexual talk from her husband before, Melania replied, "No, that’s why I was surprised, because I said like I don’t know that person that would talk that way, and that he would say that kind of stuff in private."

"I heard many different stuff -- boys talk," she continued. "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."

"And as you can see from the tape, the cameras were not on -- it was only a mic. And I wonder if they even knew that the mic was on," Melania said of the leaked tape that included audio of Trump and host Billy Bush engaged in "boy talk, and he was led on -- like, egged on -- from the host to say dirty and bad stuff."

She later said in the CNN interview, "Sometimes I say I have two boys at home -- I have my young son and I have my husband. But I know how some men talk, and that’s how I saw it, yes." She further noted that Trump had apologized to her for what had been said, and added, "I accept his apology. I hope the American people will accept it as well. And it was many, many years ago. He’s not the man that I know."

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