Attorney Michael Cohen testified in Federal Court on August 21 that his longtime client Donald Trump directed him to pay porn actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal for their silence for the "principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 election -- according to NBC News.

An age-old story

Trump has denied having relations with these women since the reports first surfaced in a Wall Street Journal brief on Nov. 4, 2016. The denials kept coming even as recently as March 7 of this year, when Trump's press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at a press briefing that the president “ made very well clear that none of these allegations are true.”

The story of men denying women's claims of sex with them is as old as the hills of Rome.

In the Italian capital in 1612 the painter Artemisia Gentileschi was raped by her art teacher Agostino Tassi when she was 17, and it took a trial that lasted eight months to prove her claim. In Trump's case, it took 21 months for Cohen to acknowledge the claims, although the president has yet to admit anything. I rush to point out that the sex Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal had with him was consensual, not forced.

Truth on trial

But just like Trump denied the claims of Daniels and McDougal, Tassi refused to admit what he did to Artemisia. Art historian Mary O'Neill recounted the court proceedings in the May 2002 edition of the Smithsonian. The teen testified that while her father was out of the house, Tassi came in as she was at her easel, yelling: Not so much painting, not so much painting.” He then yanked her palette and brushes out of her hand and tossed them to the floor.

Artemisia threw a knife at his chest, but he pushed her into her bedroom, threw her onto the bed, covered her mouth so she couldn't scream, and forced himself on her.

She told the court that she'd never had sexual relations with anyone other than Agostino. To get the court to believe her, she underwent a lie-detector test of the day, a form of torture with thumbscrews.

The test caused serious injury to her hand, but when asked over and over if Tassi raped her, she repeatedly said: "It is true, it is true."

The #MeToo movement at work

In his defense, Tassi told the court that he'd never had carnal relations with Artemisia. Sound familiar? As CNBC reported in 2016, the White House denied that Trump had sex with either Stormy Daniels or Karen McDougal and maintained that he had no knowledge of the payments.

For a long time, the denials held up, until his attorney (Cohen) swore in Federal Court that he colluded with Trump to silence Daniels and McDougal. The days of silencing women may be over. The #MeToo movement lives.

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