Donald Trump's lawyers threaten lawsuit over ex-wife's alleged sexual assault claims

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Donald Trump's Attorney: You Cannot Rape Your Spouse

Donald Trump is riding high in the polls at the moment but being the front-runner for the GOP nomination has increased scrutiny on his personal life and past.

Following his controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants, in particular accusing them of being "rapists," the focus has shifted to the time when Trump's ex-wife Ivanaused the word "rape" to describe an incident between the then married couple in 1989.

The Daily Beastreports that Ivana Trump's assertion of "rape" came up in the couple's blockbuster divorce case that was tabloid fodder in the early 90s. Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen pushed back, telling the DailyBeast that: "You're talking about the front-runner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can't rape your spouse."

Cohen added: "It is true. You cannot rape your spouse. And there's very clear case law."

See photos of the pair's relationship:

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Donald Trump and ex-wife Ivana
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Donald Trump's lawyers threaten lawsuit over ex-wife's alleged sexual assault claims
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 4: Billionaire Donald Trump and his wife Ivana arrive 04 December 1989 at a social engagement in New York. (Photo credit should read SWERZEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Real estate developer Donald Trump waves to reporters with his wife, Ivana, as they board their luxury yacht The Trump Princess in New York City on Monday, July 4, 1988. Trump paid the Sultan of Brunei $30 million for the nearly 300-foot yacht. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Donald Trump, left, and his ex-wife, Ivana Trump stand together at a reception prior to the Hotel Industry Annual Candlelight Gala held at New York's Plaza Hotel, Tues., April 9, 1991. Trump announced plans earlier in the day to convert most of the Plaza Hotel into luxury condominiums, a move that could cost Ivana her job running the hotel. (AP Photo/Luis Ribeiro)
Ivana Trump, ex-wife of real estate developer Donald Trump, is shown with her children Ivanka, left, and Eric as Ricardo Mazuchelli looks on in October 1993. (AP Photo)
Donald Trump and his ex-wife Ivana Trump are seen together watching the men's singles finals match between Patrick Rafter and Greg Rusedski at the U.S. Open in New York Sunday, Sept. 7, 1997. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)
Real estate developer Donald Trump and his wife, Ivana, pose aboard their new luxury yacht The Trump Princess docked at the 30th Street pier on the East River in New York City, Monday, July 4, 1988. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Donald Trump and his wife, Ivana, pose outside the Federal Courthouse after she was sworn in as a United States citizen, May 1988. (AP Photo)
PALM BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Ivana Trump attends the wedding ceremony of Donald Trump Jr. and Vanessa Haydon at the Mar-a-Lago Club November 12, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Ivana Trump reacts to Mario Buatta's rubber chicken during a celebrity cook-in to benefit the March of Dimes in New York, Nov. 21, 1989. The cook-in featuring celebrities such as interior designer Buatta and Mike Tyson, was held at the Plaza Hotel, which is owned by Trump's husband, Donald. (AP Photo/Mario Suriani)
Ivana Trump, former wife of Donald Trump, arrives for the "Red Cross Gala" Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, in Monaco. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 15:  (L-R) Donald Trump, Ivana Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Yunaska attend The Eric Trump 8th Annual Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 15, 2014 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
**FILE**Ivana Trump, Czech-born former fashion model and former wife of multimillionaire Donald Trump, arrives at a charity event Aug. 4, 2006, in Monaco. Trump's ex-wife, who is attending the Paris haute couture shows this week with her partner, Rossano Rubicondi, told AP Television News on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007, that she recently advised her ex-husband and TV ci-host Rosie O'Donnell to make peace in her advice column for the National Enquirer and Globe tabloids. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
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Ivana's graphic deposition in the divorce case is revealed in the book "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump" byHarry Hurt III. She said that the couple had a heated argument over a botched scalp reduction surgery Trump had had, and she described how Trump's "violent assault" included tearing out clumps of her hair and then tearing off her clothes.

Hill writes: "Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified -- It is a violent assault ... According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, 'he raped me.'"

The 1990 divorce was granted on the grounds of Trump's "cruel and inhuman treatment" of Ivana. The settlement involved a gag order that keeps Ivana from talking about her marriage to Trump without his permission.

Trump has previously denied the allegations in Hill's book, calling them "obviously " and further describing the author as an "unattractive guy who is a vindictive and jealous person" when speaking to Newsday in 1993.

In further comment to the DailyBeast, Trump's lawyer Cohen said "It's not the word that you're trying to make it into," adding that "she felt raped emotionally -- She was not referring to it [as] a criminal matter, and not in its literal sense, though there's many literal senses to the word."

After being challenged on his claim about spousal rape -- the marital rape exemption in New York was struck down in 1984 according to the Daily Beast -- Cohen threatened epic legal action if the story was published.

"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 said.

"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?"

"You write a story that has Mr. Trump's name in it, with the word 'rape,' and I'm going to mess your life up -- for as long as you're on this frickin' planet -- you're going to have judgments against you, so much money, you'll never know how to get out from underneath it," he added.

Cohen then goes on to threaten the Daily Beast with a multimillion dollar lawsuit similar to the one they hit Univision with after they pulled out of televising Miss America following his controversial immigration comments, as well as threaten the authors Tim Mak and Brad Zadrozny.

"[T]here is nothing reasonable about you wanting to write a story about somebody's usage of the word 'rape,' when she's talking [about] she didn't feel emotionally satisfied," he said.

He added: "Though there's many literal senses to the word, if you distort it, and you put Mr. Trump's name there onto it, rest assured, you will suffer the consequences. So you do whatever you want. You want to ruin your life at the age of 20? You do that, and I'll be happy to serve it right up to you."

"I think you should go ahead and you should write the story that you plan on writing. I think you should do it. Because I think you're an idiot. And I think your paper's a joke, and it's going to be my absolute pleasure to serve you with a $500 million lawsuit, like I told [you] I did it to Univision," Cohen said.

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