Trump Lawyer Alina Habba Admonished During E. Jean Carroll Trial

alina habba vs judge

Day two of E. Jean Carroll’s second defamation trial against Donald Trump featured not only testimony from the famed author, but several extremely tense exchanges between the former president’s lawyer, Alina Habba, and Judge Robert Kaplan. 

The trial, which will determine what additional damages Trump owes Carroll after already having been found liable for sexual abuse and defamation last year, began on Tuesday alongside a barrage of attacks against Carroll by the former president. Shortly after arriving in court on Wednesday, Habba re-upped a previously denied bid to delay the trial so that Trump could attend the funeral of his mother-in-law Amalija Knavs — which hasn’t stopped him from maintaining a packed roster of campaign events. 

“The application is denied,” Kaplan told Habba, telling her to sit down and reminding her that Trump was not required to be present in the courtroom for the trial, and could attend the funeral if he wanted to. “I will hear no further argument on it. None. Do you understand that word? None. Please sit down,” he said. 

“I don’t like to be spoken to that way. And we are going to be here for several days,” Habba responded. 

Tensions continued to simmer throughout Carroll’s testimony. According to Politico, after Habba raised an objection from her seat at the defense table, Kaplan reprimanded her. “When you speak in this courtroom, you’ll stand up,” he said. 

Politico reported that at one point during Carroll’s time on the stand, Habba referenced pursuing a potential line of questioning that had been declared off-limits by Kaplan. “The last I heard, Ms. Habba, I do not need announcements from counsel about what they intend to do,” Kaplan interjected, once again telling her to sit down. 

Carroll testified that since coming forward with her allegations that the former president raped her in the nineties, she has “paid just about as dearly as is possible to pay,” and that Trump’s accusations that she made up her claims for monetary gain are “a lie.” 

“To have the President of the United States, one of the most powerful persons on Earth, calling me a liar for three days and saying I’m a liar 26 times — I counted them — it ended the world that I had been living in. And I entered a new world,” Carroll said of Trump’s 2019 response to her allegations of sexual assault, adding that since coming forward she receives “scores and scores” of threatening and harassing messages, sometimes “hundreds a day.”

Throughout Carroll’s testimony, Trump maintained a stream of commentary and reactions from his place at the defense table. During a break in which the jury was excluded, Carroll’s attorneys told the judge that if they could hear Trump’s comments, it was likely the jury could as well. When the trial resumed, Kaplan asked that the former president “take special care to keep his voice down when he’s conferring with counsel so that the jury does not overhear it.” 

Trump clearly didn’t get the message, because shortly after Kaplan threatened to have him outright removed from the courtroom.

“Mr. Trump has the right to be present here, but that right can be forfeited and it can be forfeited if he is disruptive and if he disregards court orders,” Kaplan said. “I understand you are very eager for
me to do that, I know you would because you just can’t control yourself in this circumstance.”


Trump responded by raising his hands. “I would love it,” he said.

“I know you would,” the judge countered.

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