Giuliani bizarrely claims ‘trial by combat’ comments at MAGA Capitol rally were a reference to Game of Thrones and did not incite violence

James Crump
 ((AFP via Getty Images))
((AFP via Getty Images))

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has claimed that he was making a Game of Thrones reference, when he called for “trial by combat” at a rally just prior to the Capitol riots.

Mr Giuliani spoke at a “Save America” rally in Washington, DC, alongside President Trump on Wednesday 6 January, during the confirmation of electoral college votes, putting a hold to the process to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory for several hours.

Following the rally, a mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the US Capitol, causing the House to be evacuated and numerous politicians to barricade themselves in offices to hide from the rioters, some of whom were carrying guns and other weapons.

Speaking at the rally last Wednesday, President Trump urged supporters to “walk down to the Capitol” and told them: “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Just prior to those comments, Mr Giuliani made numerous false claims about 3 November’s election, and told the crowd: “If we are wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we're right, a lot of them will go to jail. So let's have trial by combat.”

However, speaking to reporter Brett Samuels of The Hill on Tuesday, Mr Giuliani said that his “trial by combat” comment was just a reference to the HBO show Game of Thrones.

“I was referencing the kind of trial that took place for Tyrion in that very famous documentary about fictitious medieval England,” Mr Giuliani said on Tuesday.

“When Tyrion, who is a very small man, is accused of murder. He didn't commit murder, he can't defend himself, and he hires a champion to defend him,” Mr Trump’s personal lawyer added, presumably referring to himself as the “champion”.

The attorney, who has been leading the Trump campaign’s unsuccessful legal efforts to overturn 3 November’s election results, then claimed that he was actually referring to a “trial between machines.”

Mr Giuliani was referencing the Trump campaign’s legal battles against Dominion Voting Systems. They have baselessly claimed that the company’s voting machines were rigged against them on 3 November.

“In fact, you'll see it comes up exactly in the context of I challenge them to allow us to examine their machines,” he said on Tuesday.

“And then I say the consequences of the trial by combat will be if they prove that we're wrong - we'll be disgraced. If we prove that they're wrong, they go to jail,” he added.

Mr Giuliani also said that his “trial by combat” comment was not a call to violence, claiming that “It incited no violent response from the crowd.”

He added: “None. The crowd didn't jump up saying, ‘Lock him up, throw him to jail, go to hell.’ I've had speeches where people jump up and say, ‘lock him up.’ It was not an emotional - it was not an emotion-inspiring part of the speech.”

Shortly after Mr Giuliani and Mr Trump’s speeches at the rally last Wednesday, the pro-Trump mob marched to the Capitol, before some of them breached the House. Five people died and numerous others were injured in the riots.

Despite Mr Giuliani’s claims that his speech did not cause the riot, several politicians and organisations have called for him to be disbarred.

The New York State Bar Association has opened up an inquiry into whether Giuliani should be disbarred, while numerous Democratic lawmakers have called for that action to be taken.

Middlebury College also announced on Wednesday that it will be revoking an honourary degree given to Mr Giuliani, for his part in “fomenting the violent uprising against our nation's Capitol.”

Any such action could prevent him from representing Mr Trump at a possible impeachment trial, but Mr Giuliani confirmed to The Hill that if it is still possible, he would “represent” Mr Trump “if he wanted me to.”

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