1. Home
  2. Politics
  3. world
  4. news
  5. Hush-money judge bans 'salacious' testimony that Melania was pregnant when Trump began alleged affair with Playboy model

Hush-money judge bans 'salacious' testimony that Melania was pregnant when Trump began alleged affair with Playboy model

Natalie Musumeci,Laura Italiano,Jacob Shamsian   

Hush-money judge bans 'salacious' testimony that Melania was pregnant when Trump began alleged affair with Playboy model
  • The judge in Trump's criminal trial has barred certain testimony around his alleged affair with an ex-Playboy model.
  • Prosecutors cannot introduce that Melania was pregnant at the time the alleged affair began.

The judge presiding over Donald Trump's historic criminal trial has barred testimony that the former president's wife, Melania Trump, was pregnant at the time a former Playboy model says she had an affair with Donald Trump.

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan to allow evidence related to the ex-Playboy model, Karen McDougal, as Trump's hush-money trial kicked off Monday in a Manhattan courtroom.

McDougal has said that she had a nearly year-long sexual relationship with Trump beginning in 2006. Steinglass said he hoped to introduce evidence showing the then-"Apprentice" star believed that her story going public would threaten his 2016 presidential campaign.

Additionally, Steinglass explained that during the trial, he planned to bring into evidence how McDougal claims she had the affair with Trump while Melania Trump was pregnant with their now-18-year-old son Barron.

The McDougal-Trump narrative includes "that Karen McDougal was a former Playboy model," and that the affair began "when his wife, Melania, was pregnant with his child," Steinglass said.

Trump's alleged affairs with McDougal and Stormy Daniels were both part of "catch and kill" deals with American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer. Those deals allowed AMI to buy the rights to those stories and keep them out of the public eye ahead of the 2016 presidential election — which prosecutors say is the driving force behind those deals.

Steinglass said that he didn't want to get too into the racy details of the affair "unless, of course, the defendant opens the door."

Steinglass said he would not solicit "salacious details of the affair" like "the positions and locales," but that it was important to inform the juries about it to explain that AMI believed the affair really happened, and that disclosing it to the public would have an impact on the election.

Donald Trump's lead attorney, Todd Blanche, argued strenuously against any evidence concerning a "literally just salacious with no value."

Steinglass countered that jurors in the hush money trial needed to know about the alleged affair and cover-up because "it speaks directly to the extent to which" Donald Trump "believed this story would be damaging to his campaign ... and the lengths they would be willing to go."

"The only value is to embarrass President Trump, right?" Blanche shot back, adding, "This is just to embarrass President Trump. It's literally just salacious."

Merchan ruled that he would allow prosecutors to talk about Trump's alleged affair with McDougal during the trial — but that he would not permit them to mention that Melania Trump was pregnant at the time.

The Manhattan district attorney's office has charged Trump with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, alleging that he lied on documents to disguise payments to Daniels, an adult film actress.

Prosecutors allege Trump's ex-personal attorney and former fixer, Michael Cohen, facilitated $130,000 in payments to Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election to buy her silence over a 2006 sexual encounter with Donald Trump.

Trump has denied the charges and having affairs with McDougal and Daniels.