A former server at Donald Trump‘s New Jersey golf club says a Trump attorney duped her into signing an illegal non-disclosure agreement and settling a sexual harassment claim against her supervisor for a “paltry sum.”

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in New Jersey’s Middlesex Superior Court, Alice Bianco said attorney Alina Habba acted unethically by portraying herself as a friend and “neutral” ally after she learned that Bianco had alleged her boss was harassing her at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. Habba began representing Trump publicly soon after the NDA was signed in August 2021, according to the suit.

Habba on Thursday denied the allegations against her in the lawsuit, which was first reported by Politico.

“I always conduct myself ethically and acted no differently in this circumstance,” she said in a statement.

Bianco said in a statement through her lawyer: “I didn’t know my rights. I didn’t know Alina wasn’t supposed to discuss a case with me without my lawyer. I didn’t know New Jersey had banned non-disclosure agreements for victims of sexual harassment. All I knew was that the person claiming to be my friend and advisor threw me in the trash as soon as she pressured me into silence.”

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Bianco’s suit against the Trump club says the problems with her supervisor began soon after she began working there as a 21-year-old in May 2021. She alleged that her boss used his position to harass her and coerce her into having sex and then retaliated against her after she told him she didn’t want anything to do with him in July of that year.

Bianco said that she hired an attorney after she was contacted by human resources — and that that’s when Habba, a member at the club whom Bianco occasionally served — reached out to her and said she “‘had heard’ about what was going on and wanted to ‘help her,'” the suit says.

Habba asked Bianco who her lawyer was and then sent her a negative post about the attorney and told her she could fire him, according to the suit. When the relationship with the unidentified lawyer soured as a result, Habba told Bianco that “you don’t want to go public with this” and “I can protect you,” the suit quotes her as saying.

Habba later told Bianco she would be “protected” if she signed a non-disclosure agreement and accepted an unspecified sum of settlement money from the club, which Habba told her would be tax-free, according to the suit. Bianco signed the agreement at Habba’s office, and Habba broke off communication after Bianco got her money, according to the suit. Weeks later, Habba began representing Trump in a suit against his niece, Mary Trump.

The settlement wound up not being tax-free, according to the suit. The NDA, which calls for Bianco to return the settlement and pay a $1,000-a-day fine for any violations, is illegal under New Jersey law, which has barred such agreements since 2019, the suit says.

Bianco is seeking to have the settlement agreement, including the NDA, nullified. She also wants Habba to be referred to the state attorney ethics office.

Bianco’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, said in a statement that Habba had “used the unethical silencing of my client” to “propel herself into Trump’s inner circle. Her behavior was predatory. Pretending to be ‘neutral’ when acting on behalf of one party is clearly unethical.”

Habba, who has become a key part of Trump’s legal team, is representing him or his company in his civil fraud trial in New York City and in a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, which is scheduled to go to trial in January.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com

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