Former judge says Trump’s E. Jean Carroll trial judge bench-slapped his attorney with restraint

Former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba has been generating quite a racket in his second defamation trial against E. Jean Carroll — making so many trivial blunders in the courtroom that the presiding judge bench-slapped her 14 times in one day of testimony last week.

A former federal judge told Business Insider that the judge was actually restrained in his repeated reprimanding of Habba.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan of New York grew increasingly upset on Wednesday with Habba’s conduct in court, reprimanding her for everything from not following the necessary processes for introducing evidence to disrespecting his earlier rulings.

At one point, Kaplan informed her, “I make the rulings here, not the lawyers,” before instructing her to sit down.

Despite Kaplan’s warnings, Habba continued to defy his authority, repeating the same mistakes and following lines of questioning he had previously overruled.

In addition to his lawyer, Trump was disruptive in court, angrily criticizing Carroll during her testimony.

Former judge says Trump's E. Jean Carroll trial judge bench-slapped his attorney with restraint

“I think Kaplan is being really measured under the circumstances in his reactions to both Trump and Habba,” John Jones, a retired federal judge for over 20 years, told BI.

“He was really careful about not overreacting, and I don’t think he overreacted to Habba, either,” Jones recalled of Kaplan’s frequent admonishing. “I think he’s trying to send her signals, which is what a good judge does about how to try her case and what to do, and she’s just blowing past those signals.”

Jones claimed that by being disruptive in court, Habba was doing exactly what Trump desired: causing disruption.

“It’s an unprofessional and bad look,” Jones, who served in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said. “But I suppose Habba doesn’t care about all of that. All she cares about is keeping Trump happy.”

But by bending to Trump’s wants instead of respecting the judge’s, Habba is “playing with fire,” Jones, who is now the president of Dickinson College, added.

He stated that Habba’s conduct was likely to turn the jury against her.

“The inescapable conclusion the jury members get is that she’s run afoul the judge and that she’s doing something wrong,” Jones went on to say.

“So Habba, not only does she not really have a strategy and a clear defense, rather than to just be disruptive in court, but she’s got an impossible situation with her client,” Jones went on to say. “So I mean, this is a horror show from a defensive standpoint.”

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