Donald Trump’s favorite defense attorney in New Jersey, Alina Habba, was sued on Tuesday by a former black legal assistant who claims she was tormented by her boss loudly and repeatedly chanting the N-word while listening rap.
And the lawsuit alleges Habba earlier this year lost her temper when she suffered a court defeat to New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is black, angrily shouting, “I hate that black bitch !”
A tipster alerted The Daily Beast to the lawsuit on Wednesday night, and we confirmed the lawsuit was filed in Middlesex County, New Jersey.
Reached Thursday morning, Habba seemed hurt and disappointed.
“Na’Syia is someone we love and care about for years. Na’Syia had never made a single complaint to anyone until she decided to quit and demand an exorbitant amount of money in return. I am disappointed with this lawsuit and the allegations which are simply not true,” she said.
Habba, a young and attractive attorney with a fearsome TV personality and an aggressive personality in the courtroom, became Trump’s defense attorney in several lawsuits targeting him and his family business. According to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, fellow attorneys representing Trump disagree with his caustic approach.
Habba fiercely attacked the New York AG, which is investigating the Trump Organization for bank and insurance fraud in a years-long investigation that appears to be nearing its conclusion. And she is expected to represent the ex-president and his company in a trial next week that seeks to prove that Trump personally directed his security guards to attack protesters outside his Manhattan headquarters.
According to the lawsuit, Na’syia Drayton was a legal assistant and the only African-American employee of Habba Madaio & Associates, a small business in Bedminster, the same town that is home to the Trump National Golf Club. His name appears in unrelated New York court documents as a person associated with Habba’s business.
Reached late Wednesday night, Drayton declined to speak about the lawsuit and referred questions to his Princeton attorney, Jacqueline Tillmann.
“My client is a soft-spoken, non-political young woman. She is 27 years old. She was a legal secretary and was trying to keep her job, trying to support her family,” Tillmann told The Daily Beast. “I think it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t reach an agreement. It’s my policy to try to work things out.
According to the lawsuit, Drayton began working with Habba at her former company and was fired at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Habba left and started her own law firm, she hired Drayton as her legal assistant. The lawsuit alleges that Habba and his new partner, Michael Madaio, regularly blasted hip-hop music and sang raunchy lyrics that allegedly made Drayton feel deeply uncomfortable.
The lawsuit claims that on January 26, Habba and Madaio “played and sang aloud several songs in the office with sexually explicit lyrics” which Drayton felt were “both racially offensive and sexually inappropriate in the office setting”. Drayton alleges that Habba and Madaio put together DMX’s “Ruff Ryders Anthem”, Kanye West and Jay Z’s “N—-s in Paris” and Lil Wayne’s “Rich Ass Fuck”.
Every time Habba said the N-word, Drayton claimed she “felt belittled and violated.” The songs “which portrayed women as objects of male sexual gratification” made her feel “humiliated, embarrassed and uncomfortable in the office,” the lawsuit reads.
Drayton claims she began having panic attacks at work after Habba lost a court battle in Manhattan in April, when Judge Arthur F. Engoron punished Trump for refusing to turn over evidence by forcing him to pay a daily fine of $10,000 which eventually amounted to $110,000. After the hearing, Drayton claims, Habba came “angry” out of her office and yelled, “I hate that black bitch!”
An attachment to the lawsuit shows Drayton sent his bosses an email on June 9 titled “Uncomfortable work environment.” In it, the paralegal wrote that the songs, Habba’s alleged statement about the New York Attorney General, and other interactions made her feel uncomfortable.
“Saying these things was difficult. It took a lot of courage to do that. Nobody wants to be seen as a troublemaker,” Tillmann told The Daily Beast late Wednesday night. “When the lightweight rises to this level, we remember them. My client missed a lot of things. But when the Letitia James comment was made, and then the music with the supervisors singing those lyrics… and singing n—-, n—-, n—-, it doesn’t feel good in as an employee. ”
“It’s not that my client feels that Ms. Habba has no right to be a Kanye fan or to sing. It’s about the time and place. The office is not the place for it, especially when an employee says, “That hurts me.