Published September 28, 2016
It turns out 1996 Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado, cited by Hillary Clinton in the first presidential debate as an example of Donald Trump's mistreatment of women, has a complicated past.
Shortly after she won her crown in the late '90s, a judge in Venezuela accused Machado of threatening to kill him after he indicted her then-boyfriend for attempted murder.
Machado threatened "to ruin my career as a judge and ... kill me,'' Judge Maximiliano Fuenmayor said at the time.
Her boyfriend, Juan Rafael Rodriguez Regetti, was accused of shooting and wounding his sister's husband, who he blamed for his sister's suicide.
Rodriguez was accused of shooting and wounding Francisco Antonio Sbert Mousko outside a church in Caracas where his wife -- Rodriguez's sister -- was being eulogized.
Sbert reportedly suffered brain damage from the attack.
The victim's family accused Machado of driving her boyfriend's getaway car, but she denied any involvement and apparently was never indicted, due to lack of evidence.
Now a U.S. citizen, Machado told reporters Tuesday in a conference call arranged by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that her experience with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump could "open eyes" in the election.
After the debate, Machado tweeted her thanks to Clinton, writing in Spanish: "Thanks Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Your respect for women and our differences makes you great. I'm with you."
In June, Machado appeared at a news conference in Virginia held by immigrant advocacy groups to encourage Latino voters to support Clinton.
Machado says that when she gained weight after being crowned Miss Universe for 1996, Trump, who ran the pageant, labeled her "Miss Piggy."
Asked about the exchange during an interview Tuesday with "Fox & Friends," Trump said Machado was "the worst we ever had," adding: "She gained a massive amount of weight. It was a real problem."
After the debate, Clinton's campaign quickly released a web video detailing Machado's story, portraying her as a mortified pageant winner whom Trump called "fat" or "ugly" and who was blindsided by reporters Trump invited to watch her work out.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.