Alina Habba Insists Donald Trump Shouldn’t Be Forced to Testify Under Oath


Former President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, argued in a court filing on Sunday that he should not be forced to testify under oath in his defamation case brought by E. Jean Carroll.

Trump, the current frontrunner in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, faces a second defamation trial by Carroll, a former Elle columnist, that is scheduled to begin on January 16 as it will decide how much Trump owes in damages. A civil trial that concluded last May found that Trump was liable for sexually abusing and defaming Carroll, who ultimately was rewarded $5 million. The accusation of defamation against Trump follows the former president’s denial that he sexually assaulted her at a Bergdorf Goodman department store in the 1990s in New York City. In 2019, the former president said Carroll was “not my type,” suggesting she made up the allegation. In this lawsuit, Carroll is seeking $10 million in damages.

On Friday, Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan asked U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the case, to impose a set of rules regarding Trump’s testimony and behavior, citing the former president’s previous behavior in his New York civil fraud trial.

Carroll’s legal team requested Trump be required to state on the record and under oath, “that he understands that it is established for purposes of the trial that he sexually assaulted Ms. Carroll and he spoke falsely with actual malice and lied when accusing her of fabricating her account and impugning her motives and that Mr. Trump further understands and accepts all of the limits that the Court has imposed on his testimony in this action and will conduct himself in the courtroom in accordance with those limitations.”

Former President Donald Trump stands with his lawyer Alina Habba on Thursday in New York City. Habba insisted in a court filing on Sunday that Trump should not be forced to testify under oath in his defamation case brought by E. Jean Carroll.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

On Sunday, in a letter to Kaplan, Habba responded to Carroll’s legal team and addressed the request, as she outlined several issues she has with the proposals, and wrote that, “President Trump cannot and should not be made to testify under oath in any particular affirmative manner.”

Newsweek has reached out to Habba and Trump via email for comment.

MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin noted on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday morning Habba’s response and pointed out that Trump’s lawyer did not address if the former president will abide by court orders.

“While her response features many Trumpian turns of phrase, note what she never says: that he will abide by the court’s orders regarding what evidence and arguments are admissible,” Rubin wrote.

She added: “Instead, she insists ‘President Trump cannot and should not be made to testify under oath in any particular affirmative manner.’ Again and again, Trump accuses others of unlawful persecution while he flouts the rules by which every other American plays.”

The request on Trump’s behavior from Carroll’s team was made with the notion that the former president would testify during the jury trial, which he is not required to attend.

Last week, the former president vowed to do just that, saying outside a New York courtroom: “Yeah I’m going to go to it, and I’m going to explain I don’t know who the hell she is.” However, it is unclear if he will be in court as Trump requested on Friday the trial be postponed as he will be traveling for the funeral of his mother-in-law who died last week.

Kaplan denied the request, however, and said that while the court “offers its condolences” to the Trump family, the trial would continue as scheduled.