As with most political races, the presidential candidates are facing serious pressure to release extremely personal information. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has heard her share of calls to “release the emails!” Both Donald Trump and Clinton have published statements from their doctors confirming that they're in good health, rather than releasing full medical records. And, recently, The New York Times and the Gannett newspaper chain filed a motion to unseal the 25-year-old file from Donald and Ivana Trump's divorce.
“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,” wrote Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo in Thursday’s ruling.
According to the Daily Beast, the divorce records could have revealed Ivana’s testimony that Trump raped her. In the book Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, written by Newsweek and Texas Monthly reporter Harry Hurt III in 1993, Hurt mentioned some of the court proceedings from the divorce. Apparently, following a plastic surgery gone wrong to remove a bald spot on Trump’s head, Donald ripped hair from Ivana’s scalp, tore her clothes off and raped her out of anger. The doctor who botched Trump's hair was reportedly recommended by his ex-wife.
“As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: ‘Does it hurt?’” Hurt wrote in the book.
Since then, Ivana has claimed that she merely felt “violated” because he was angry, and that she didn’t mean “rape” in the criminal sense of the word. Although the divorce was granted on the grounds of Donald’s “cruel and inhuman treatment” of Ivana, Trump lawyers assert that this “inhuman treatment” was merely that he was spotted with Marla Maples by media. Ivana is also under a gag order stipulated by the divorce that prevents her from speaking of her past marriage without Donald’s permission.
After the Times and Gannett filed the motion to unseal this file, Ivana submitted an affidavit begging the court not to release the divorce records and testimony. "I do not want the details of our divorce (most of which have already been reported extensively) to be opened up and displayed to the general public for their misinterpretation and amusement," she wrote. "Donald and I currently share a warm relationship and our family should not be forced to relive this part of our past because he is running for president."
As a private person, Ivana has more rights to her private divorce file than Donald Trump does—a factor that contributed to Nervo’s decision. “If the court were to deprive the candidate party of his rights...on the ground that there may be something in the confidential file that would be useful in determining his fitness for office, that ground does not exist in the case of his former wife, who is not a candidate,” wrote Nervo.
Although there has been no decision on whether the media companies will appeal this decision, Trump’s attorneys were happy with the outcome according to Politico. "We are pleased with the Court's well-reasoned decision and order,” Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz said.