WANTED: Appellate counsel who is either “CRAZY” or a TRUE AMERICAN PATRIOT for Second Circuit civil review. Qualified attorneys must be willing to make laughable arguments with a straight face. Client is well-known public figure, and representation involves significant risk of reputational blowback. Upfront payment to compensate for lost future earnings negotiable.
After Friday’s $83.3 million verdict in the second E. Jean Carroll defamation trial, Donald Trump says he’s on the hunt for new lawyers. He claims to be “interviewing various law firms” for the appeal of “one of the most ridiculous and unfair Witch Hunts our Country has ever seen – The defamation sham.”
This has widely been interpreted as cutting loose Alina Habba, AKA Counselor Sparklemagic, in favor of someone who didn’t just lose him tens of millions of dollars.
In reality, Habba doesn’t usually argue Trump’s federal appellate cases. In his appeal of the first Carroll verdict, he’s represented by former Assistant US Attorney Emil Bove, along with Todd Blanche, who left Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft to represent Trump in his various criminal cases.
In Florida, he’s asked the 11th Circuit to overturn the million dollars in sanctions Habba scored him by filing that disastrous RICO suit against Hillary Clinton and a cast of thousands. Kraken alum Jesse Binnall’s firm is taking the lead there, although Habba is still associated with the case.
In the DC Circuit, his criminal appeals have been handled by D. John Sauer, the former solicitor general of Missouri.
And anyway, Trump has previously decreed that this whole shitshow debacle is the fault of his prior, competent counsel Joe Tacopina, who only lost him $5 million. So FPOTUS may be interviewing new lawyers — or he may be full of shit, always a possibility — but he’s clearly not excommunicating Habba. She was already supposed to have left for the Save America PAC to be his legal spokeswoman, but was so indispensable that she was brought back for the civil fraud trial and the Carroll case. And lest we forget, she’s smack in the middle of that unpleasantness about the server who was sexually harassed at Trump’s Bedminster golf club.
And indeed she confirmed this morning in a statement to the Daily Mail that she’ll still be leading the MAGA charge. So when she said that “This is far from over,” she meant it.
She’s on a one-woman mission to save Law Twitter, and she won’t quit ’til the whole gang is back together.
But while we’re on the subject, we can’t help but notice that Habba escaped sanctions in the New York civil fraud case with her putative departure. Her co-counsel, Chris Kise, Mike Madaio, and Cliff Robert all got dinged for “reiterating … frivolous arguments” and “intentional and blatant disregard of controlling authority and law of the case.” But if she never really left … is that gun gonna go off in the final act?
Guess we’ll find out this afternoon when New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron drops his ruling on how much the Trump Org has to pay in fines.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she produces the Law and Chaos substack and podcast.