NEWARK, New Jersey (AP) -- An attorney for Republican presidential contender Donald Trump apologized Tuesday for making the incorrect assertion that "by the very definition, you can't rape your spouse."
In a story published Monday night by The Daily Beast website, attorney Michael Cohen was quoted as threatening a reporter with legal action over a story looking into decades-old allegations reportedly made by Trump's first wife, Ivana Trump, during their divorce proceedings.
"I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know," Cohen was quoted as saying by the website, advising the reporter with whom he was speaking to tread very lightly or risk "disgusting" consequences.
Cohen, whose email signature identifies him as "Executive Vice President and Special Counsel" to the businessman and reality TV star, was answering questions about Ivana Trump using the word "rape" in a deposition to describe a 1989 sexual encounter with Donald Trump, which was first described in the 1993 book "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump."
In a statement, Cohen apologized for his comments.
"As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core," Cohen said. "Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment -- which I do not believe -- and which I apologize for entirely."
In a phone interview with CNN Tuesday night, Trump said he disagreed with Cohen's assertion, but had no plans to fire him.
"You have to understand, Michael was extremely angry 'cause he knew it never took place, he knew this website was considered a joke," said Trump, adding that Cohen was speaking for himself.
Trump also attacked the story as "totally a false reporting" and lashed out at The Daily Beast, calling it "a failing, financially disastrous" website with "nothing going for it."
Trump's campaign also released a statement from Ivana Trump calling the story "totally without merit."
"Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign," she said.