Now We Know Why Melania Hasn't Showed Up In Court

Now We Know Why Melania Hasn't Showed Up In Court

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger questions Michael Cohen in New York Supreme Court on May 13, 2024

Illusration by Jane Rosenberg/ REUTERS

Michael Cohen today surpassed everyone’s expectations of what would happen when the New York lawyer who has been known to be a “loose cannon” took the stand.

Under direct examination by the prosecution, Cohen gave one or two-word answers repeatedly: Yes. No. I did. He did. When they got to the point of his testimony, which was to tie the Stormy Daniels payoff directly to Trump’s anxiety about how her story would affect his campaign, Cohen was stellar.

Referring to the possibility that Stormy Daniels would speak about her one night stand with Trump before election day, Trump told Cohen, “This is a disaster, a total disaster. Women will hate me.” Trump said “guys, they think it’s cool” that Trump had sex with Stormy Daniels in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe, but if women hear about it, “this is going to be a disaster for the campaign.”

Polls in 2016 already had Trump running seriously behind Hillary Clinton with women because of the Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump boasted that with women, he could “grab’em by the pussy” anytime, because “when you are a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

Cohen described Trump as desperate at the thought of the Stormy Daniels story coming out days before the election. “Get control of it! Just get past the election. If I win, it’ll have no relevance when I’m president. And if I lose, I don’t really care.”

When Susan Hoffinger, the attorney for the prosecution, asked Cohen if he had talked about Trump’s wife, Melania, with him, Cohen answered, “Yes.” Cohen then described Trump’s attitude about the possibility that his wife would learn about his one night stand with Daniels. “Don’t worry. How long do you think I’ll be on the market for? Not long.”

That comment is a direct reference to the idea that Melania might divorce him over the Stormy Daniels story. It is also the reason that the row of seats for family members behind the defense table has been empty for four weeks, save for one day that Trump’s son, Eric, attended the trial for part of one day. The empty seats in the family row are in full view of the jury box.

Melania has her pride, even if her husband doesn’t.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

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