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WILL SHE TESTIFY? Melania and SPOUSAL PRIVILEGE in Trump’s hush money trial

WILL SHE TESTIFY? Melania and SPOUSAL PRIVILEGE in Trump’s hush money trial


Donald Trump has told, more than once, the story in which his wife learns of his list of alleged affairs and misdeeds. In his version, it’s the “pee tape” story (or a version of it, in which he participates rather than merely watching sex workers in Russia urinate on the bed in which his predecessor slept) that saved him, because Melania couldn’t believe that.

He describes her saying that this story is unbelievable because he’s a germophobe who would not participate in a “golden shower” act.

It’s a near sure bet, though, that she won’t show up at his trial to take the stand and deny that — or any other, more relevant, allegations against him — from the alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, to the orchestration of the payoff to keep his affair partner silent, to the falsification of business records to cover it up.

Spousal privilege protects a defendant against his spouse testifying against him in most cases. However, there are some exceptions, as Cornell Law School explains, so hypothetically if Melania has spoken to a friend or someone else about her husband committing criminal acts, for example, she might be compelled to speak. Moreover, she could also choose to waive her privilege.

While Melania’s former friend and Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham has gone public with what Melania shared about her feelings at the time, there’s no particular indication that the former First Lady shared anything about the facts of the case.

Still, there’s some debate about how that would go, and other former insiders don’t think she’s likely to be asked to speak. Newsweek reported:

“I think this will come down to more of a paper trail kind of case and I think they have the facts there,” [former White House aide Alyssa] Farah Griffin said. “I think to call her [Melania] would look salacious, would likely backfire too. She’s never broken with him on major issues.”

From what Stephanie Grisham has shared about Melania’s feelings about the whole scandal, though, it doesn’t seem likely that she’d want to defend her husband, at whom she was reportedly extremely peeved at the time.

On the other hand, an unnamed current insider told the New York Times that Melania is also aggravated that her husband was charged, has called the trial “a disgrace,” and agrees with the former president that holding him accountable is “unfair.”

Throughout the 2024 campaign, though, Melania has been spotted with Trump at Mar-a-Lago on occasion but has not been joining him on the campaign trail, isn’t holding her own events to support his candidacy, and isn’t exactly making herself visible with public initiatives and efforts.

It’s not entirely impossible that she could make an appearance at his trial — but all signs suggest that if you’re looking for Melania, you should head for Florida, not New York.

For clarifications, comments, & typos, email:

Stephanie Bazzle
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here:

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