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Trump’s Attorney Draws Criticism for Ignoring Courtroom Rules in High-Profile Case

Alina Habba, the lawyer representing former President Donald Trump, attracted widespread attention recently due to her courtroom behavior during the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial.

Judge Kaplan’s Admonitions

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Her actions, including violating courtroom rules and ignoring established legal procedures, led Judge Lewis Kaplan to admonish her multiple times in a single day.

Legal Experts View

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Legal experts have raised concerns about her conduct, suggesting it could potentially lead to malpractice liability in a different context.

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Courtroom Antics and Consequences

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Alina Habba

Habba’s actions during the trial raised eyebrows, with Judge Kaplan reprimanding her for disregarding his prior rulings, lacking proper cross-examination skills, and failing to adhere to fundamental rules for introducing evidence.

Potential for Malpractice

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Ethics lawyer Stephen Gillers emphasized that in any other case, Habba’s courtroom behavior could expose her to potential malpractice liability.

Humiliation and Embarrassment

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Ignorance of courtroom evidence rules could lead to personal humiliation and embarrassment while jeopardizing the admissibility of evidence that might favor Trump.

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Challenges in Proving Malpractice

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To establish malpractice, Trump would need to demonstrate two key elements: that Habba’s ignorance of evidence rules resulted in the exclusion of favorable evidence, and that such evidence could have altered the jury’s verdict. Experts doubt the feasibility of proving the second part in this scenario.

Trump’s Intent and Strategy

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One significant reason Trump is unlikely to pursue a malpractice lawsuit against Habba is that her actions align with his strategic goals.

“Trump wants a lawyer who will fight in the court of public opinion as much as the courtroom,” Neama Rahmani, the president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Business Insider.

Focus on Public Opinion

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Alina Habba’s role in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial appears to extend beyond the courtroom, with her emphasis on speaking to voters, not just the judge and jury. Trump prioritizes lawyers who can bolster his public image and advance his narrative.

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Trump’s Lawyer Selection Criteria

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Trump’s history reveals a pattern of selecting defense lawyers based on their perceived ability to perform well in the media and public eye. Legal expertise often takes a backseat to their capacity to echo Trump’s attacks on his perceived adversaries.

Kaplan’s Perspective

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Legal experts noted that Judge Kaplan’s interactions with Habba “seem to focus less on genuinely debatable matters of advanced tactics, and more on the judge’s frustration with things that would be unlikely from more experienced lawyers,” said, Kris Franklin, a professor at New York Law School to Business Insider.

Habba’s Representation

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Habba was retained by Trump in 2021 and has represented him in various cases, including the E. Jean Carroll defamation suits, the New York attorney general’s fraud trial, and a lawsuit against The New York Times and his niece, Mary, regarding his tax records.

Also Read: Trump’s Heated Clash with Judge, Attorney General as $370 Million Fraud Trial Concludes

Political Considerations

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In the E. Jean Carroll case, Habba’s approach seems aimed at influencing public perception rather than focusing solely on legal arguments. Trump’s legal position in this matter has been challenged previously.

Unique Legal Challenge

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Trump faces a unique legal challenge, having been previously found to have sexually assaulted Carroll. The trial primarily concerns the determination of damages, making it a less attractive case for trial lawyers.

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