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Former Trump Bedminster club worker files sexual harassment lawsuit, alleges she was pressured to sign NDA

By Hannah Rabinowitz and Paula Reid, CNN

(CNN) — A former server at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster has filed a lawsuit against the club in New Jersey, alleging that she was sexually harassed by her manager and then pressured to sign an illegal non-disclosure agreement by Alina Habba, who is now an attorney for the former president.

The woman, Alice Bianco, alleged in the lawsuit that she was given “very short uniform skirts” to wear by her boss Pavel Melichar. Bianco, who was 21 at the time, alleged that Melichar, who was in his mid-50s, showered her with gifts and coerced her to engage in sex in exchange for “protection” and job security.

When Bianco rejected advances, she alleges, Melichar retaliated against her by giving her “unfair job assignments and allowing his henchmen to abuse her and steal her tips.”

Melichar is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. He has not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.

Bianco soon learned that one of her colleagues planned to write a letter to Donald Trump’s personal staff about the “toxic and sexist work environment” at the club, according to the lawsuit, so Bianco shared her experience with that colleague, who included Bianco’s alleged harassment in the letter.

Soon after the letter was delivered, Bianco said she was approached in July 2021 by Habba – who was a member of the Bedminster club but didn’t legally represent Trump at the time. According to the lawsuit, Habba “acted as if Ms. Bianco was her friend,” urging Bianco to fire her lawyer and offering to give Bianco advice.

Bianco is seeking to stop the Bedminster club from enforcing the NDA, pay her legal fees, and refer Habba to the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics. She is not seeking any additional penalties.

“Alina Habba used the unethical silencing of my client, Ali Bianco, as a way to propel herself into Trump’s inner circle,” Bianco’s lawyer Nancy Erika Smith said in a statement to CNN. Smith said that Habba “knew Bianco had a lawyer but targeted and manipulated her to enter into an agreement favorable to Trump … for a fraction of what a typical settlement would be for these claims.”

In a statement to CNN, Habba said: “I always conduct myself ethically and acted no differently in this circumstance.”

Neither Habba nor Trump are named as defendants. A Trump representative did not respond to a request for comment.

Habba allegedly met with Bianco in the parking lot at the Bedminster club, and the two sat in Habba’s matte black G-wagon to talk in August 2021. According to the lawsuit, Habba encouraged Bianco not to go public with her accusations and to instead sign a “simple” NDA. Habba allegedly said that she could make sure Bianco was “protected.”

“I didn’t know my rights,” Bianco said in a statement to CNN provided by her lawyer. “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,” Bianco said.

Bianco eventually signed the settlement that included the NDA and an undisclosed sum of money, according to the lawsuit. If Bianco violated the NDA, she would be forced to pay a $1,000 a day penalty, the lawsuit said.

Shortly after the settlement was signed, according to the lawsuit, Habba began publicly representing Trump and stopped assisting Bianco.

“Habba didn’t need to text heart emojis anymore, she had accomplished her goal of protecting Donald Trump and of silencing Ms. Bianco,” the lawsuit says.

Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report.

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