Donald Trump Reportedly Faced Rape Allegations From Wife Ivana in the 1990s
Who's doing the raping?
It's a question Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump asked CNN host Don Lemon while justifying claims the candidate made that Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals.
On Monday, the Daily Beast published an article revisiting decades-old allegations by Trump's first wife, Ivana, that the real estate magnate violently raped and beat her during their marriage.
Ivana Trump first made statements about the incident in a deposition from the couple's divorce in the early 1990s, portions of which were referenced in the 1993 book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.
According to the account, Trump reportedly became enraged after a botched scalp reduction surgery performed by his wife's plastic surgeon. He then attacked Ivana, pulling out her hair and tearing off her clothes.
"Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than 16 months. Ivana is terrified ... It is a violent assault," the story goes. "According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, 'He raped me.'"
Ivana later clarified in a statement that she meant the charge in an emotional sense rather than a "criminal" or "literal one," according to the Daily Beast.
Trump denied the charges shortly after they emerged in 1993, but when pressed by the Daily Beast on Monday, the candidate's lawyer, Michael Cohen, defended his boss by making perhaps the strangest statement of all, "by the very definition, you can't rape your spouse," Cohen said, adding there was "very clear case law" to support his claim.
Spousal rape in New York has been illegal since 1984.
Before the story went live, Cohen reportedly also personally threatened the Daily Beast reporters involved.
"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," Cohen told the Daily Beast. "So I'm warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I'm going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?" Cohen added he would "ruin your life."
ABC News producer John Santucci reported Tuesday that Ivana Trump denied the allegations, saying they were "totally without merit" and her ex-husband would "make an incredible president."
Candidate Trump has also tread lightly in his response, with Santucci again reporting that the campaign denied the allegations but also moved away from Cohen's other comments.
Trump currently leads the Republican race in a number of national and state polls.