Alina Habba Files Motion In E. Jean Carrol Case After Judgment
Former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba made a demand on Monday, vowing to obtain all the relevant facts from the presiding judge in the defamation case filed by E. Jean Carroll against the former president. Habba has claimed that the judge, Lewis Kaplan, may have had a conflict of interest with Carroll’s lead counsel, Roberta Kaplan, as they had previously worked together and had a mentor-mentee relationship in the early 1990s at the Paul, Weiss, Rifkin, Wharton & Garrison law firm in Midtown.
Habba argued that this is an important matter that should have been disclosed before the case involving the parties was allowed to proceed forward. She further stated that the judge’s previous relationship with Roberta Kaplan could possibly impact Trump’s chances of appealing the defamation judgment and the previous $5 million judgment in Carroll’s favor for sexual abuse.
In her letter to Judge Kaplan, Habba expressed her concerns about the potential conflict of interest and stated that without knowing more information about the nature of the relationship between the judge and Kaplan, she and her team are unable to make a specific request for relief. She pointed out that this information may also be relevant to Trump’s forthcoming Rule 59 motion, where he is expected to ask for a new trial or for the court’s decision to be reconsidered.
The issue of the judge’s alleged conflict of interest was brought to light by sources who informed The New York Post that Judge Kaplan was once a “mentor” to Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan. A former partner at the Paul Weiss law firm also confirmed this and stated that Lewis Kaplan was like a mentor to Roberta while they worked together for less than two years in the early 1990s.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Roberta Kaplan downplayed any relationship between the pair, stating that they never worked together directly and only overlapped for a short period of time. However, Habba argued that even if this was the case, the judge’s possible bias should have been disclosed beforehand.
Habba further criticized the court’s behavior, stating that it was “overtly hostile” towards Trump and her team and displayed preferential treatment towards Carroll’s counsel. She also mentioned that the rulings, tone, and demeanor of the bench raised concerns even before the New York Post’s investigative journalism unearthed these new facts.
The case in question involves a defamation lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll, in which she accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s. Trump has denied these claims and filed a countersuit against Carroll for defamation. However, last week, a jury awarded Carroll $83.3 million in damages, causing a stir in the case.
In the letter to the judge, Habba also requested that the court provide all the relevant facts about the judge’s past relationship with Roberta Kaplan, which she believes may prove crucial in their appeal of the defamation judgement and the previous judgement in Carroll’s favor. Habba also stated that they were previously advised that the judge had co-officiated Roberta’s wedding, which adds another layer to the potential conflict of interest.
The revelation of a possible conflict of interest has caused a stir in the legal community, with many questioning the impartiality of the judge and the fairness of the trial. It remains to be seen how the court will respond to Habba’s demands and if the judge’s previous relationship with Roberta Kaplan will have any impact on Trump’s appeal.