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Meet Alina Habba, the New Jersey parking garage lawyer now handling Donald Trump's most personal lawsuits

Jay Falcon

DP Veteran
Jul 17, 2019
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Meet Alina Habba, the New Jersey parking garage lawyer now handling Donald Trump's most personal lawsuits

On Thursday, Donald Trump had an important court hearing. New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed the former president for her civil investigation of the Trump Organization's finances. Trump didn't want to sit for a deposition and asked his lawyers to fight it.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron brought all the parties together in a Zoom conference to hear everyone's positions. In his corner, Trump had someone who was far from the national radar: a 36-year-old lawyer named Alina Habba.

At times, Habba treated the court hearing like a Fox News appearance, inquiring why the New York state Attorney General's office would not investigate Hillary Clinton instead of Trump. Engoron's law clerk told her several times to stop interrupting him.

In the end, Engoron ordered Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Ivanka Trump to sit for depositions within 21 days. Habba's arguments didn't work.

Since first hiring Habba in September, Trump has sicced her on his most personal court cases, ones like the initial showdown she just lost. In addition to defending her against two sexual assault lawsuits, she also filed a lawsuit against the New York Times and the ex-president's niece, Mary Trump, over leaking his tax documents.

She's also handling Trump's most audacious lawsuit yet: an attempt to stop Tish's investigation outright.

That case is a long shot, experts told Insider. It also comes with the devil's bargain job of being Trump's latest go-to lawyer, a position that has led some of her predecessors into situations that could be almost impossible to navigate ethically. Consider, for example, when Trump tried without success to get his Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller and the White House counsel then ended up becoming a star witness in the special counsel's final report.

"The easiest way to get a high profile is to represent Donald Trump," said Randy Zelin, a New York-based criminal attorney and Cornell Law School professor. "Now, is it worth it?"
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