Politics

Melania Trump Believes Roger Stone Leaked Her Nude Photos to the Press

Melania Trump believes that Roger Stone, a longtime ally and adviser to Donald Trump, is behind the release of nude photos from her modeling past.

In the book, “Free, Melania”, CNN correspondent Kate Bennett also writes that the first lady “still refuses to believe” her husband played a role in the release.

The pictures, from a 1996 photoshoot and published by a French magazine the following year, found their way into the New York Post on July 30, 2016, three months out from election day and as Donald Trump was embroiled in an ugly spat with the family of Captain Humayun Khan, a US soldier killed in Iraq in 2004.

At the time, Stone had no formal role with the Trump campaign, having left it in August 2015. But he remained close to Trump, himself a past master in using his personal life to generate tabloid publicity, often as a means of distraction.

“The theory goes,” Bennett writes, “that Trump was trying to head off a bad week on the campaign.”

Friends say she still refuses to believe Trump would do that to her. As for Stone, she’s not so sure.

Stone has had a bad month. In mid-November, he was found guilty of obstructing the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He is now awaiting sentencing.

Trump heads into the 2020 election under the shadow of an impeachment inquiry related to his conduct in foreign policy. He also faces the prospect of prosecution when he leaves office, regarding a range of potential offences, among them pay-offs to a porn star and a Playboy model who claim to have slept with him while he was married to Melania. He denies the affairs but the payments have been confirmed, and Trump allegedly played a direct role in them.

“This time,” Bennett writes of the release of the photos, “the idea that [Trump] would throw his naked wife under the bus was almost so gross and salacious, and the photos so B-movie bad, the press ultimately spent very little time discussing them.

“Melania has not commented on how she thinks they got into the hands of the tabloid and on to the cover, but friends say she still refuses to believe Trump would do that to her. As for Stone, she’s not so sure.”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement: “Mrs Trump is surprised at Kate Bennett’s reporting. Our office worked with Kate in good faith on her book, and thought she would do an honest job. Sadly, it includes many false details and opinions, showing Ms Bennett spoke to many anonymous people who don’t know the first lady.

“It continues to be disappointing when people, especially journalists, write books with false information just to profit off the first family.”

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