Donald Trump to Make Melania a Key Part of His Legal Defense

Gun Rights

Donald Trump will claim at the Stormy Daniels trial next month that he was trying to hide his affair with the porn star from his wife, not his voters, an attorney has said.

New York prosecutors will try to prove that, before the 2016 presidential election, Trump paid two women—Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal—not to reveal his affairs with them. He is also accused of making payments to a former Trump Tower doorman who claimed to know that Trump fathered a child with another woman. Trump has strongly denied all allegations.

Prosecutors allege that Trump falsified records to hide the payments, and thereby violated election law by withholding truthful information from voters.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges in the case and has repeatedly said it is part of a political witch hunt aimed at derailing his bid for the White House. Daniels said in January that she is “set to testify” in the trial, which will begin in New York on March 25.

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In response to a Newsweek query at a pre-trial media briefing, attorney and professor Andrew Weissmann, said that “the factual scenario” about Trump’s payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal “is relatively straightforward” so Trump will try to claim that his secret payments were an attempt to hide the alleged affairs from his wife, Melania.

donald trump nra penn
Donald Trump arrives at the National Rifle Association presidential forum at the Great American Outdoor Show on February 09, 2024 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Trump is expected to go on trial in March over alleged hush…
Donald Trump arrives at the National Rifle Association presidential forum at the Great American Outdoor Show on February 09, 2024 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Trump is expected to go on trial in March over alleged hush money payments to a porn star and a former Playboy model.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

This will be an attempt to counter prosecutor claims that the payments were an attempt to hide the affairs from voters in Trump’s successful 2016 presidential election campaign, Weissmann said.

He said he didn’t think Trump’s lawyers will dispute the paper trail when the case goes to trial next month.

“I see the defense as being more about: ‘I wanted to keep this away from my wife. It had nothing to do with the election, it had to do with my wife’ but even there…there are very strong facts against that scenario,” Weissmann said.

Newsweek sought email comment from Trump’s attorney on Thursday.

Weissmann said that prosecutors will present evidence that Trump was not concerned about the allegations after election day.

“The allegation is that he didn’t really care if this came out after the election. Well if you were really trying to keep it from your wife, then you would never want it coming out. It won’t be that you were ok with telling her but you were waiting for the election to be over,” he said.

At the same briefing, former federal prosecutor Shan Wu said that the allegation against Trump is “the oldest story in the world”—a man paying to cover up a scandal from the public.

He agreed that Trump ”may flip that and say he didn’t want Melania to find out” about his affairs.

The media briefing was moderated by attorney and former ambassador Norm Eisen.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is expected to testify that he paid Daniels $130,000 and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer to pay McDougal $150,000. In both cases, Trump’s alleged motive was to avoid scandal while he was campaigning against Hillary Clinton for the presidency.

Trump’s real estate parent company, The Trump Organization, then allegedly reimbursed Cohen $420,000 to cover the payments to the two women and extra payments to ensure Cohen’s silence.

The Stormy Daniels payments case is scheduled to be the next trial for Trump following the cancellation of the March 4 start date for the federal interference trial in Washington, D.C.

It is also the first criminal case filed against Trump, with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg bringing felony charges against the former president in March 2023.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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