The Real Reason Michael Cohen Threatened A Miss USA Contestant

Michael Cohen found himself at odds with a lot of different people during his time as Donald Trump's attorney. Per PBS, Cohen served as one of the infamously litigious former president's personal attorneys from 2006 to 2018.

One person Cohen found himself publicly at odds with was a former Miss USA contestant. You may not be aware that Trump purchased the Miss Universe Organization, which included Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, in 1996. According to Rolling Stone, the former president owned the organization until he was forced to sell it in 2015 following a number of allegations and lawsuits.

The contestant that found themselves in the Trump Organization's ire is 2012's Miss Pennsylvania, Sheena Monnin. It was while competing in Miss USA that Monnin would learn information that would disenchant her with her pageant experience. Monnin alleged that Miss Florida, Karina Brez, revealed to other contestants that she knew who the top five would be after seeing them written down in a notebook backstage, The Guardian reported. 

Sheena Monnin spoke out against the pageant system

Though Karina Brez would later walk back her accusation as a joke, others agreed the pageants were rigged, to an extent, including Miss Universe judge Jeff Lee, who revealed to GQ that Trump got to call a number of picks.

"Lee will tell you that from 2005 until Donald Trump sold the pageant last year, the billionaire quietly handpicked as many as six semifinalists—'Trump cards,' they were called—an alleged response to the 2004 snubbing of Miss Ukraine, Oleksandra Nikolayenko, a particular favorite of Mr. Trump," the 2016 profile read.

As that situation grew increasingly public and messy, Sheena Monnin decided to resign as Miss Pennsylvania. "I have decided to resign my position as Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012. Effective immediately I have voluntarily, completely, and utterly removed myself from the Miss Universe Organization. In good conscience I can no longer be affiliated in any way with an organization I consider to be fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy," she wrote in a Facebook post announcing the decision, per The Guardian

She added, "I do not support this system in any way. In my heart I believe in honesty, fair play, a fair opportunity, and high moral integrity, none of which in my opinion are part of this pageant system any longer."

Donald Trump sued Sheena Monnin for defamation

In an appearance on "Good Morning America," Donald Trump fired back at Sheena Monnin's comments about the pageant and said she was suffering from "loser's remorse" (via E! News). "I think that, frankly, she should apologize, but we will be bringing a lawsuit against her," he said at the time. "She lost and if you look at her compared to the people who were in the top 15, you would understand why she's not in the top 15. It's a very, very sad situation."

According to The Guardian, Trump went further into detail about suing Monnin during a later appearance on "Today." When she appeared on the same show soon after to share her side of the story, she was slapped with a $10 million defamation lawsuit. 

The lawsuit went on to be a three-year battle that left Monnin with a $5 million judgment against her.

Michael Cohen bragged about 'destroying' Sheena Monnin's life

When Michael Cohen was confronted by a reporter on a different subject, Cohen referenced his win over Sheena Monnin. "Do you want to destroy your life? It's going to be my privilege to serve it to you on a silver platter like I did that idiot from Pennsylvania in Miss USA, because I think you're dumber than she is," Cohen said (per The Daily Beast). "Sheena Monnin, another one that wanted to defame Mr. Trump and ended up with a $5 million judgment. That's going to be nothing compared to what I do to you," he added. 

However, things didn't end there. Sheena's father, Philip Monnin, detailed Cohen's threats against his daughter, saying Cohen spoke to her with "arrogance and bullying and threats and intimidation ... delivered with basic impunity." He also noted that his daughter no longer comments on the settlement since it was reached in 2014.

"He basically said if I went along with my daughter I was an idiot. And said that she should apologize and if she didn't want to, then 'Game on,' and he slammed the phone down. And that was the end of the conversation." Speaking to The Daily Beast, Philip added, "She's fine. She's moved on with her life. She's not had to rescind what she said."