CHICAGO: Iraqi attorney Alina Habba has been on the front lines of the legal battles surrounding Donald Trump over the past two years, as one of the former president’s most tenacious defenders.
Alina was born on 25 March 1984 to Saad F Habba. She attended Lehigh University and Kent Place School. Alina was married to Matthew T. Eyet and they have 2 kids together. Alina got married to Mathew on 10 September 2011 in New Jersey with the two divorcing in December 2019. Her father, Saad F. Habba, is a gastroenterologist.
Trump was indicted last week by a grand jury in Manhattan on more than 30 counts related to allegations he paid “hush money” to adult movie star Stormy Daniels to prevent her from disclosing details of their relationship. Trump turned himself into authorities in Manhattan on Tuesday and later appeared before Judge Juan Merchan, entering a plea of not guilty to all charges.
Habba, 39, has been one of Trump’s most vocal defenders and it has put her in the legal crosshairs. She was the lead attorney on a legal team that was sanctioned, along with Trump, on Jan. 19 in Florida by US District Court Judge Donald Middlebrook, who ruled the lawyers and their client were jointly liable for $937,989 in damages over a lawsuit they filed accusing 31 defendants of “trying to destroy” Trump’s life and “rigging the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton.”
The judge dismissed their case, saying it had “fatal substantive defects,” and accused the lawyers of ignoring his order not to advance the allegations that had been rejected.
On Tuesday, Trump became the first former president to be charged with a crime. His indictment came after a grand jury considered evidence presented by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The charges relate to payments allegedly made to Daniels on Trump’s behalf to prevent her speaking publicly about their relationship. Trump denies any wrongdoing.
Asked recently if she believes her client can get a fair trial in New York, Habba said: “No, no, I think it’s very difficult. I’d like to have faith in this state but I’ve been practicing for him now for a couple years and gone to court in New York for a few years, and I can tell you it’s not the same as representing anybody else.”
Habba’s legal expertise covers many types of cases, including corporate litigation and formation, commercial real estate, family law, the financial services industry and construction-related matters.
Before entering private practice, she was a law clerk for Eugene J. Codey, Jr., the presiding judge of the Civil Superior Court in Essex County, New Jersey.
In September 2021, Habba represented Trump in a $100 million lawsuit filed by the former president against his niece, Mary Trump, and The New York Times Company, accusing them of “an insidious plot” and conspiracy to publish information about his tax records. Mary Trump in turn filed a lawsuit against her uncle claiming she had been defrauded of her inheritance but a judge dismissed the case.
Although she is not lead counsel in the case surrounding Trump’s indictment on Tuesday, she has spearheaded investigations designed to clear his name and dismiss many of the lawsuits brought against him in recent years.
Celebrity gossip website TMZ reported this week that Habba found herself at the center of a social media storm of criticism when she compared Trump’s legal problems to those of African American rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., and said his arrest would serve only to boost his popularity, a view that many conservative commentators embrace.
Habba also represents Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought against him by E. Jean Carroll, a former Elle magazine columnist who accused the former president of sexually assaulting her in New York in the mid-1990s. Trump has repeatedly denied the allegation. He was deposed in October last year by attorneys representing Carroll.
In addition, Habba was among the legal team that advised Trump during a federal investigation into allegations he mishandled classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. His home was raided by FBI agents and boxes of documents allegedly containing classified and secret documents were removed.