Fact Check: NO Evidence Trump Lawyer Alina Habba Said Judge Kaplan Took $5 Million Bribe To Convict Trump

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: NO Evidence Trump Lawyer Alina Habba Said Judge Kaplan Took $5 Million Bribe To Convict Trump No Proof

Did Donald Trump's lawyer Alina Habba say that U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan took a $5 million bribe to convict Trump? No, that's not true: There is no proof that Habba ever accused Kaplan of taking a bribe to convict the former president. Kaplan did not "convict Trump" in the case in question -- a jury decided in January 2024 that Trump should pay writer E. Jean Carroll $83 million in damages for making defamatory statements.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) where it was published on Instagram on January 28, 2023. The text in the video included in the post read:


This is what the post looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-02-05 at 11.07.20 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Feb 5 16:45:51 2024 UTC)

There is no evidence that Habba, who represented Trump in his case against Carroll, ever claimed that Kaplan took a $5 million bribe to convict Trump. A Google news search (archived here) of the keywords "Alina Habba" and "'Judge Kaplan Took $5 Million Bribe To Convict Trump'," yields zero matching results from the thousands of sites indexed by Google. Had Habba, Trump's high-profile attorney, made such a serious accusation, it would have been national and international news. There are no news stories of her making the charge against Kaplan as this Google news screenshot shows:

Screen Shot 2024-02-05 at 11.15.02 AM.png

(Source: Google screenshot taken on Mon Feb 5 16:50:21 2024 UTC)

Habba complained that there was a conflict of interest in the case, claiming that Kaplan was a "mentor" to Carroll's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, at a law firm 30 years prior, which was reported by the New York Post (archived here). However, Roberta Kaplan responded to the judge saying she had no interaction with the judge and calling the claim false, as NBC News reported (archived here). Habba backtracked on the complaint with a letter to the judge that read, in part:

The purpose of the letter was simply to inquire as to whether there is any merit to a recently published New York Post story which reported on the alleged existence of such a relationship... Since Ms. Kaplan has now denied that there was ever a mentor-mentee relationship between herself and Your Honor, this issue has seemingly been resolved.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about Donald Trump can be found here, E. Jean Carroll can be found here, and Alina Habba can be found here.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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