Even Donald Trump’s lawyers can’t avoid being dragged into court.
A lawsuit filed this week in New Jersey alleges that one the attorneys defending the former president against a civil investigation led by New York Attorney General Letitia James once called James a “Black bitch” after losing a ruling in the case, and routinely participated in other racist and inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
The suit was filed by Na’Sayia Drayton, who is identified in court documents as a legal assistant and the only African-American woman who worked at the law firm of Habba Madaio & Associates. Drayton claims that in April of this year, the firm’s managing partner, Alina Habba—who is described in the suit as of Caucasian-American and “Arabic descent”—burst out of a meeting with her partner Michael Madaio, who is white, yelling, “I hate that Black bitch,” referring to James. Habba and Madaio had just been handed another L on Trump’s behalf by a judge in the New York investigation, the lawsuit says.
It’s unclear exactly which L Habba and Madaio were holding at the time, given Trump’s legal team has tried several unsuccessful tactics to derail James’ investigation since it began back in 2019. In April of this year, we reported that James’ office asked a judge in New York to hold Trump in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena for documents. Later that month, a judge agreed, fining Trump $10,000 a day until he complied. Habba argued against both the subpoena itself and the fine.
The alleged racism doesn’t end there: Drayton also claims that Habba, Madaio and other white employees at the firm made a habit of blaring hip-hop and singing along to the lyrics—which was cool by her—including repeated use of the n-word in all its forms, hard-er included—which was definitely not cool by her.
Oh yeah, there was a “you people love fried chicken” quip thrown in for good measure—again, allegedly.
When confronted about the behavior, Drayton’s suit claims that Habba dismissed the idea that she was racist because of her own background.
Specifically, during the conversation, defendant Alina Habba repeatedly stated the following:
a) It was “unacceptable to her” that Plaintiff Na’Syia Drayton believed that her (Habba’s) workplace behavior was inappropriate, offensive and racially insensitive;
b) That she could not possibly be racist because “I am a fucking minority myself;”
c) That it was impossible for her to be racist because “I’m not white” and because “I love all people”;
d) That she loved Plaintiff Na’Syia Drayton;
e) “I’m not white. I used to be bullied because I am Arab;”
f) That her comments about Letitia James, Esq. were not meant for you [Drayton];
Bold and italics compliments of Drayton’s legal team. That lettered list continues through “k”.
The Root reached out to Habba Madaio & Associates for comment but hasn’t gotten a response yet.