Donald Trump's Lawyer Has Some Crazy Ideas About Marital Rape

Photo: KEITH BUTLER/REX USA
Yesterday, the Daily Beast published a story in which the decades-old allegation that Donald Trump raped his ex-wife, Ivana Trump, re-entered into the spotlight. Ivana's "rape" claim arrived in the form of a deposition that was revealed in the 1993 biography of the real-estate mogul, Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, by Harry Hurt III.

The controversial section of Lost Tycoon asserts that Donald turned on his former wife after botched plastic surgery. “Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” he reportedly said. Hurt's account states Donald "jams his penis inside [Ivana] for the first time in more than sixteen months. [She] is terrified… It is a violent assault. According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”

When the book hit shelves (and ever since), Donald denied the episode. (We reached out to Donald Trump for comment and will update.) Since the allegation has resurfaced this week, Ivana has come forward and refuted the incident entirely. But, the story doesn't end there.

Monday, by way of defending Donald, Michael Cohen — who acts as both special counsel and executive vice president at The Trump Organization — debated the erroneousness of these sexual assault rumors. "You’re talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody," he told the Daily Beast. "And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can't rape your spouse.”

Cohen is wildly wrong about that. “Marriage doesn’t change the rules," says Amy Edelstein, of Safe Horizon." Marital rape is, in fact, illegal in all 50 states." It wasn't always that way, though: Up until 1984, New York state still contained a marital exemption in sexual assault law, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). Additionally, it wasn't until 1993 that all 50 states made spousal rape illegal in some form.

Cohen has since apologized for his statements, explaining that in a moment of shock and anger, he made an "inarticulate comment," which he does not actually believe. But, it also bears mentioning that Cohen allegedly threatened the Daily Beast reporter. "“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know," he reportedly said, in an effort to keep the piece from going to print.

Unraveling this knotted trail of he-said-she-said will likely be a complicated endeavor without any real resolution. But, one thing is absolutely certain: It is not a good thing that this man, or any man — in a fit of rage or otherwise — could forget that there are legal repercussions when one married partner forces themselves on another.

You can apologize for a linguistic faux pas, but what Cohen revealed was a dangerous attitude of underlying domination. It feels grossly similar to all the ways in which Bill Cosby's victims allege that the comedian felt he had the right to drug and abuse them. Forgetting, even momentarily, that consent is required from both parties, can ruin lives — and marriages — forever.

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