The Daily Beast has a deliciously bitchy article today about Trumpland attorney Alina Habba, who is reportedly the running subject of “multiple group chats of Trump lawyers.” And not in a good way.
According to reporters Jose Pagliery and Asawin Suebsaeng, Trump’s wide stable of lawyers “have all privately vented that she has botched things or doesn’t know what she’s doing” and that “her work is so bad—so self-interested, pointlessly aggressive, and sloppy—that they think Habba’s mere presence on the team increases the likelihood of Trump and his family facing court losses and legal peril.”
Yes, AND …
We at ATL spend quite a lot of time thinking about Trump’s lawyers and reading their batshit legal filings. We read the “spoiliation” letter Habba sent to the Pulitzer committee demanding that it retract prizes for the New York Times and Washington Post, and it was hilarious. We read her LOLsuit against Mary Trump and the New York Times demanding $100 million in punitive damages for breach of contract and tortious journalisming.
We watched her give her spiel to Newsmax about New York Attorney General Letitia James being a “sick person,” and we listened as she tried to run that same play with New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.
When Habba got a remedial lesson in the Erie doctrine from US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, we were there. We too have watched Habba try to persuade a federal judge to swoop in and seize jurisdiction from a state court, ordering AG James to stop being mean to poor, defenseless Donald Trump. And whenever Eric “Dunning-Kruger” Trump promises that Habba is about to bring the smackdown, we know that something magical and insane is about to happen.
But the problem isn’t Alina Habba. The problem is her client.
“If you believe former President Donald Trump has fallen prey and is being victimized by someone such as myself, then you do not understand Donald Trump, the Trump Organization or his family very well,” Habba said in January when Axios ran a similar story featuring whispers of her mostly male counterparts. Adding this time around that Trump thinks she looks “beautiful” on TV is a nice touch, though.
Not for nothing, but those guys don’t have such a hot track record defending their boss in court, either.
Habba was right then, and she’s right now. Which is not to say that she’s doing a great job — far from it. But she’s not losing these cases. These cases are losers, and none of these lawyers shit talking her to reporters could win them, either. Which is exactly why they didn’t take them! Lest we forget, Habba wouldn’t be in that courtroom if Trump’s longtime attorney Marc Kasowitz hadn’t noped out after dragging the proceedings out for years at a time until finally a court forced his client to face the music.
When you are a polarizing figure with a nasty reputation for not paying your attorneys, and you insist upon filing crap lawsuit after crap lawsuit, you’re not getting Clarence Darrow to represent you. You’re not even going to get Charles Harder, or (what remains of) Alan Dershowitz. You’re getting someone from a small law firm, with very little relevant experience, whose main qualification is a willingness to say whatever stupid shit you want her to say.
And by that metric, which is the only one that counts, Alina Habba’s a rockstar.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.