Trump says he is shopping around for new law firm as Alina Habba faces scrutiny

Donald Trump has revealed that he’s yet again looking for a new law firm as attorney Alina Habba appears to be on her way out after the former president was ordered to pay writer E Jean Carroll $83.3m for defamation.

“I am in the process, along with my team, of interviewing various law firms to represent me in an Appeal of one of the most ridiculous and unfair Witch Hunts our Country has ever seen - The defamation Sham presided over by a Clinton appointed, highly partisan, Trump Hating Judge, Lewis Kaplan, who was, together with certain other Radical Left Democrat Judges, one of the most partisan and out of control activists that I have ever appeared before,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social late on Tuesday night.

Ms Carroll accused Mr Trump in her 2019 memoir of having raped her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. Mr Trump forcefully rejected the allegations and repeatedly personally insulted Ms Carroll.

In an initial defamation trial, Mr Trump was found liable for sexual abuse, but not rape. Judge Kaplan ruled that the decision from the first jury would apply also to the second defamation trial, which wrapped up last week, meaning that the second jury only had to decide on damages.

Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social in his 11.08pm post on Tuesday that Judge Kaplan was a “bully” who “demanded two trials, rather than one, denied me Due Process, would not allow me to put forth vital evidence (of which there was much!), and only allowed me to be on the witness stand for minutes, telling my lawyer what to ask, and telling me to only give one-word answers, as his wife and friends sat in cordoned off front row seats watching with glee”.

Before Mr Trump was called to the witness stand last week, Judge Kaplan instructed Ms Habba that she could only ask him whether he stands by his previous deposition testimony, and if he has ever instructed anyone to hurt Ms Carroll.

While the jury was out of the room, as the judge and attorneys discussed what he could say, Mr Trump interrupted Ms Habba to repeat that he never met Ms Carroll and didn’t know her. The judge told him to keep his voice down.

And in an extraordinarily brief exchange after only three questions from his attorney, Mr Trump testified that he stands by his previous deposition “100 per cent”.

“Yes, I did,” he said. “She said something that I considered a false accusation – totally false.”

Judge Kaplan cut off Mr Trump. “Everything after ‘yes I did’ is stricken,” he said.

Asked by Ms Habba whether he ever instructed anyone to hurt Ms Carroll, Mr Trump replied: “No, I just wanted to defend myself, my family and, frankly, the presidency.”

Under brief cross-examination from Ms Carroll’s attorneys, Mr Trump confirmed that there already was a defamation trial against him. His attorney asked whether he followed his counsel’s advice in that case. Mr Trump said he did.

Judge Kaplan then adjourned for the day.

“This entire HOAX is a disgrace to our American System of Justice,” Mr Trump added on Truth Social on Tuesday night. “Any lawyer who takes a TRUMP CASE is either ‘CRAZY’, or a TRUE AMERICAN PATRIOT. I will make my decision soon!”

Ms Habba faced mockery on X after seemingly being removed from the Trump legal team.

“This is far from over. We are just getting started. #MAGA #TrumpDerangementSyndrome,” she wrote on 26 January.

“Guess not, Alina!” progressive commentator Brian Tyler Cohen said.

“Why a new law firm? Alina Habba said she was just getting started,” the outlet MeidasTouch added.

The Trump post announcing his search for a new law firm came after it was reported that Ms Carroll’s top attorney, Roberta Kaplan, threatened to seek sanctions against Ms Habba for her “utterly baseless” claim that the judge in the case had been her “mentor”.