Remarks made by Donald Trump lawyer Alina Habba in a recent interview about “faking being smart” resurfaced after she endured two tough days in court during her client’s civil trial for defamation damages.
Ms Habba repeatedly clashed with New York judge Lewis A Kaplan in court on Tuesday and Wednesday, during the former president’s civil trial to determine damages for defaming columnist E Jean Carroll.
These included the response to repeated objections, and her failure to stand up when making them, as well as continuing to petition for a postponement of the trial so that the former president can attend the funeral of his mother-in-law.
After a further attempt of the latter on Wednesday, Ms Habba was issued a sharp rebuke from Judge Kaplan. She responded by asking the judge not to speak to her in that way.
“I don’t like to be spoken to that way. And we are going to be here for several days,” she said. “I am asking your honour to please refrain from speaking to me in that manner.”
Social media users were quick to return to a clip of Ms Habba during a recent interview on a 4 January episode of the PBD podcast, in which she said she would “rather be pretty than smart.”
Discussing her looks, Ms Habba said: “I don’t think I’d be on TV or sitting here if I didn’t look the way I look. I think I caught attention.
“I’m very honest about that and I don’t mind. I’m not a feminist, I believe in strong women but I want my door opened [for me].”
She continued: “Somebody said to me ‘Alina, would you rather be smart or pretty?’ and I said ‘Oh easy, pretty… I can fake being smart’.
Sharing the clip on Wednesday, Ron Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of Meidas Touch, wrote: “Alina Habba proved in court today that this statement is categorically false.”
Alina Habba proved in court today that this statement is categorically false. pic.twitter.com/MKSsF0zVX3
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) January 17, 2024
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen also responded to Ms Habba’s performance, predicting “another bigly loss” for the former president, while US political blogger Jeff Tiedrich wrote: “f****** shocked to learn that Alina Habba can’t fake being smart.”
Elsewhere in court, Ms Habba appeared to struggle when referring to documents that had not been put into evidence. Judge Kaplan ordered a recess in proceedings so that she might “refresh” her memory on how to.
She later asked the judge “how should I proceed?” when questioning Ms Carroll about tweets she had received and then requested a mistrial on grounds that “evidence had been deleted” – which was immediately denied.
Ms Habba ended her cross-examination of Ms Carroll by pointing out that the gun the writer had bought to defend herself against hundreds of death threats was unlicensed. “Don’t even start,” Judge Kaplan told her.
Mr Trump has already been found liable for sexually assaulting Ms Carroll in the 1990s and for defaming her. The current trial is to establish how much the former president must pay for repeating the defamation.