A judge in New York has rejected a motion by the New York Times and the Gannett newspaper chain, which owns USA Today and several other outlets, to unseal the records of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s 1990 divorce from his ex-wife Ivana, Politico reports.
In the motion filed last month, the media organizations argued that the public had a right to know more about how the candidate had treated the women in his life, including whether he in fact raped Ivana in 1989, as she reportedly told friends, but Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo said that was not a call for the courts to make.
“Were the court to make the confidential records available for journalistic, and thus public, scrutiny, it would impermissibly inject itself into the political process by making the value judgment of what information is useful in determining the present candidate’s, or any other candidate’s, fitness for office,” Nervo’s ruling states.
Donald and Ivana Trump’s divorce proceedings were the talk of the tabloids in the early ’90s but the records were sealed and the final settlement was never made public. Both parties to the divorce opposed the unsealing requested by the Times and Gannett in legal papers filed with the court.
The divorce, and particularly the claim Ivana made in her divorce deposition that her then-husband had raped her in 1989, has come up in this election amid scrutiny of Donald Trump’s long and illustrious history of hurtful, sexist, and blatantly misogynistic statements toward and about various women.
When the rape allegations — which Ivana later walked back as not meaning rape in a “literal or criminal sense” — resurfaced last year, an attorney for the Trump Organization helpfully commented that “you can’t rape your spouse.” Sadly that is still true in some countries, but in the United States marital rape is illegal in all 50 states.