Trump lawyer Alina Habba seen at New Hampshire victory party after saying she was exposed to Covid

Donald Trump’s attorney Alina Habba was seen at his New Hampshire victory party a day after she said she was feeling unwell and displayed possible Covid symptoms.

Ms Habba is representing the former president in the New York civil defamation case brought by E Jean Carroll after he was found liable for sexually abusing her.

The jury will weigh on whether Mr Trump owes further damages to the retired magazine columnist after a previous trial ended with her being awarded $5m when it was ruled he had abused her in a department store dressing room in 1996.

The judge overseeing the defamation case postponed trial proceedings on Monday after jurors and attorneys were potentially exposed to Covid-19. It is not scheduled to resume until Thursday.

Earlier, Ms Habba, who was not wearing a face covering while seated next to her client, asked the court to resume Mr Trump’s testimony on Wednesday, a day after the New Hampshire presidential primary election. Ms Habba and her co-counsel, Michael Madaio, tested negative for Covid-19 on Monday. She told the court that she caught a fever after dining with her parents, one of whom contracted Covid-19.

The additional pause of the third consecutive day was announced in a brief update on the docket without explanation.

Ms Carroll’s attorney opposed the request, saying they wanted to get the trial over with as quickly as possible.

Sharing an update about her presence at Mr Trump’s New Hampshire campaign event, MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin wrote: “Alina Habba was spotted tonight in New Hampshire. I’m guessing her health was not the reason for delaying the E Jean Carroll trial, which is now scheduled to resume Thursday.”

“I am not insinuating Habba lied. At all. I take her at her word. She said she had been exposed and was feeling feverish over the weekend; she also represented on Monday that she tested negative that morning,” she added.

“What I am suggesting, however is that *someone else* who has been a regular courtroom presence has COVID, without which there would be little reason for a three-day delay.”

The trial concerns Mr Trump’s June 2019 denials of Ms Carroll’s claim that he raped the former Elle magazine advice columnist in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.

A different jury last May ordered Mr Trump to pay Ms Carroll $5m over a similar October 2022 denial. He had previously ruled that the first trial established that Mr Trump defamed and sexually abused Carroll.

The only issue for the nine jurors in the second trial is how much money Mr Trump should pay Ms Carroll, if any. Ms Carroll, 80, is seeking at least $10m.

On Monday afternoon, US district judge Lewis Kaplan announced that the trial would resume on Wednesday morning. He also denied Mr Trump’s demand for a mistrial, which Ms Habba requested while the jury was present and with Ms Carroll still on the witness stand last week.

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