New Jersey-based attorney Alina Habba, who joined Donald Trump’s legal team in 2021, has represented the former president on a variety of cases — including his lawsuits against his niece Mary Trump and journalist E. Jean Carroll. Habba has drawn a lot of attention in Trumpworld because of her in-your-face antics, which — according to Daily Beast reporters José Pagliery and Asawin Suebsaeng — are so over-the-top that she has even alienated other members of Trump’s legal team.
“Her name is Alina Habba, and — almost out of nowhere — the relatively unknown New Jersey lawyer went from representing a college student ticked off at COVID-19 virtual learning to being one of the top attorneys defending the twice-impeached former president in some of the country’s most high-profile cases,” Pagliery and Suebsaeng explain in an article published on March 21. “There’s just one problem for Habba: There’s hardly anyone in the Trump legal universe who can stand her.”
Axios’ Jonathan Swan reported on Habba’s tactics in an article published on January 20. Similarly, Pagliery and Suebsaeng note some of the criticisms that others in Trumpworld have of her.
“Many of Habba’s fellow senior Trumpland attorneys — including but not limited to Alan Garten — have all privately vented that she has botched things or doesn’t know what she’s doing, according to Trumpworld legal sources intimately familiar with the topic,” Pagliery and Suebsaeng report. “Some of them want her fired or sidelined. Some of the Trump lawyers think her work is so bad — so self-interested, pointlessly aggressive, and sloppy — that they think Habba’s mere presence on the team increases the likelihood of Trump and his family facing court losses and legal peril…. Habba’s professional conduct, decisions, and courtroom theatrics have routinely embarrassed her Trumpworld legal colleagues.”
The Daily Beast interviewed some attorneys in and around Trumpworld.
Pagliery and Suebsaeng explain, “One lawyer in the Trump orbit, who acknowledged they had never met Habba, simply had this to say of her legal analysis on TV: ‘Ouch’…. Another attorney pointed out that Habba seems to be filling a spot that was once reserved for Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell: an attack-dog lawyer who serves as a mouthpiece for Trump…. Habba has also taken her role as Trump’s personal litigator and turned what would normally be staid courtroom arguments into showy antics that — to her deeply disdainful colleagues — seem like a constant audition for conservative television.”
An attorney told the Beast, “If you want to be a lawyer, you stick to the facts in the case. Stick to the law. If you want to be on some news show.… then that’s probably where you should be.”
Habba’s “theatrics,” according to Pagliery and Suebsaeng, “were on full display last month in New York state court, when Habba argued against having Trump testify before New York Attorney General Letitia James by casting the entire investigation as a smear job and making snarky speeches parroting right-wing political talking points — including a non sequitur argument about Hillary Clinton.”
“Habba was repeatedly reprimanded by a clerk for interrupting the judge and talking over him,” the Beast reporters note. “But it hasn’t just been her courtroom lawyering that’s drawn the ire of fellow Trump lawyers…. In recent months, Habba has done several TV appearances on Fox News and Newsmax, railing against a legal system she claims is stacked against conservatives.”