A former server is suing Donald Trump's National Golf Club in Bedminster, alleging she was sexually harassed and coerced into sex by one of her supervisors before being tricked into signing an illegal NDA by Mr Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba.
Mr Trump is not named as a defendant in the suit.
The alleged incident began in 2021, when Ms Bianco, then 21, claims that a manager harassed her and tried to force a kiss on her. When she refused, she allegedly was given an "unfair job assignment" in retaliation. The situation culminated in her having to agree to have sex with the manager "as a quid pro quo for continued employment and 'protection'", according to the lawsuit.
The manager is also not named as a defendant.
Ms Bianco said she learned another employee was writing a letter for Mr Trump's personal staff about the manager's alleged sexual harassment, which she had also experienced. The co-worker included a reference to the fact that Ms Bianco had also experienced sexual harassment in the letter.
Shortly after its delivery, Ms Bianco says she was contacted by a human resources worker at the club, which prompted her to hire a lawyer. Thats when she says Ms Habba allegedly approached Ms Bianco "pretending to be a friend" who wanted to help her.
Ms Habba told Politico that “I always conduct myself ethically and acted no differently in this circumstance".
The Independent has reached out for comment.
The lawsuit claims Ms Habba encouraged Ms Bianco to fire her lawyer and sent a negative article about the attorney to her to persuade her to end her representation.
Ms Habba then allegedly told Ms Bianco she could "protect her" if she did not go public with her story, and told her to sign a "simple" non-disclosure agreement which included a penalty of $1,000 a day if she violated its terms. In exchange, she was paid a "paltry sum," according to the lawsuit, which does not make clear how much money was exchanged.
“Alina Habba used the unethical silencing of my client, Ali Bianco, as a way 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,” Ms Bianco's attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, wrote in a statement.
Ms Habba allegedly warned Ms Bianco that the media would only pay her $3,000 if she went public, and that she would end up owing more money due to the NDA.
The lawsuit is seeking to stop the club from enforcing the NDA, and to allow Ms Bianco to keep the settlement money and to cover her legal fees. In addition, it seeks to report Ms Habba's "unethical behaviour" to the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics.
“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,” Ms Binaco said in a statement. “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.”