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Alina Habba Insults Judge She Wants Help From

Donald Trump’s attorney Alina Habba ridiculed orders from Judge Lewis Kaplan in a new filing urging him to grant the former president a new trial in his civil defamation case against E. Jean Carroll.

A New York City jury last month ordered Trump pay an additional $83 million in damages to Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist who has accused him of assaulting her in a Manhattan department store changing room in the mid-1990s, for accusing her of lying about the assault. A jury in May found him liable for assault, ordering him to pay her $5 million. Trump maintains his innocence and has denied assaulting Carroll.

On Tuesday, Habba, who represented Trump in the case, filed a request for a new trial. In the filing, she criticized Kaplan’s orders restricting Trump’s testimony while pleading with him to allow Trump a new trial.

“The trial’s outcome was infected by two related errors,” Habba wrote. “The exclusion of President Trump’s testimony about his own state of mind, which was highly relevant to the issue of common law malice; and the erroneous jury instruction on the definition of common-law malice. Each of these errors was independently sufficient to taint the jury verdict and warrant a new trial.”

Trump Carroll new trial filing
Former President Donald Trump appears in a New York City courtroom on October 2, 2023. Trump attorney Alina Habba criticized orders by Judge Lewis Kaplan in a new filing asking him to grant Trump a…

Brendan McDermid-Pool/Getty Images

Newsweek reached out to Habba’s office for comment via email.

Habba pointed to a January 9 order from Kaplan that said Trump was “precluded from arguing that he believed his statements to have been true when uttered [i.e., whether he believed Ms. Carroll to be lying in her accusations.]”

She also raised concerns about Kaplan allowing Trump’s attorneys to ask him “only two, extremely limited questions.”

“The Court instructed, ‘I want to know everything he is going to say.’ Defense counsel answered, ‘[H]e is going to say that he did not make the statements to hurt Ms. Carroll, and he is going to say that he had to respond to the accusations and deny them,’ testimony that is of quintessential relevance to the issue of common-law malice,” Habba wrote.

She continued that the court directed Trump’s attorneys not to ask him” about his state of mind or allow him to testify about his state of mind when he made the challenged statements.”

The decisions to limit the scope of his testimony “almost certainly influenced the jury’s verdict, and thus a new trial is warranted,” Habba wrote.

Bloomberg reporter Erik Larson wrote on X, formerly Twitter,: “In a filing with US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, Trump attorney Alina Habba argued the judge gave the jury an incorrect instruction about the definition of common law malice: ‘Each of these errors was independently sufficient to taint the jury verdict and warrant a new trial.'”

The request for a new trial comes after Trump’s legal team urged Kaplan to stay the judgment, citing a “strong probability” that it would be reduced or eliminated on appeal and that Trump is so wealthy that he should not have to post a bond to appeal the ruling.

Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, no relation to Judge Kaplan, however, argued that Trump provided no proof that he has the money for the damages he was ordered to pay.