SNL brutally mocks Rudy Giuliani after $148m defamation verdict

Rudy Giuliani leaves his defamation trial on Friday (AP)

Rudy Giuliani used to be a familiar presence inside Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. He appeared in drag as an Italian grandmother, boxed with Will Ferrell (as Janet Reno), and beat up “Joe Pesci” with a stickball bat when he hosted Saturday Night Live in 1997.

He made several other cameo appearances on the sketch comedy series over the years, including a solemn moment on 29 September 2001, when he stood alongside first responders on the mainstage for SNL’s first episode after 9-11.

Appearances from the former New York City mayor in the years that followed were limited to impressions among cast members, ridiculing his descent into election conspiracy theories and loyalty to Donald Trump.

After he was ordered to pay more than $148m to a pair of election workers he defamed in the volatile aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, SNL reduced him to “the Mayor of 9-11, because that’s all that’s left in his bank account.”

In a segment on “Weekend Update”, co-anchor Colin Jost ripped into Mr Trump’s former lawyer.

“After being found liable for defamation against two Georgia election workers, Rudy Giuliani was ordered yesterday to pay the hilarious sum of $148m,” Jost said. “You might as well just make it a billion, ’cause there’s no way he can pay it.”

“At this point they only call Giuliani the ‘Mayor of 9-11’ because that’s all that’s left in his bank account,” he said.

Jost spoke next to a photograph of Mr Giuliani’s infamous image of his hair dye leaking down his face during a 2020 press conference amplifying bogus statements about voter fraud. “Amazingly, seen here in better times,” Jost said.

During the trial, US District Judge Beryl Howell asked Mr Giuliani directly about inflammatory statements he made about the plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss outside the courthouse. He told her it was an accident.

“There’s a lot of accidents going on,” Judge Howell said.

On “Weekend Update” on Saturday, Jost said Mr Giuliani replied: “Oh, you could smell that?”

Judge Howell had already found Mr Giuliani liable for defamation claims in a pretrial judgment earlier this year, stemming from a years-long lawsuit from the mother-daughter pair of election workers who continue to endure racist abuse and threatening messages after Mr Giuliani lied about their work at a ballot-counting centre in Georgia.

Following a four-day trial in a federal courtroom in Washington DC on Friday, an eight-member jury found Mr Giuliani owes them $16.2m and $16.99m respectively in compensatory damages, an additional $20m each for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a further $75m in punitive damages.

The stunning verdict adds to Mr Giuliani’s mountain of other legal battles, including a criminal case in Atlanta that also involves the same lies. He is charged alongside the former president and more than a dozen other defendants who allegedly joined a “criminal enterprise” to unlawfully overturn the state’s election results.

“I don’t regret a damn thing,” Mr Giuliani told reporters outside the courthouse on Friday.

“The absurdity of the number underscores the absurdity of the entire proceedings,” he said. “I am quite confident when this case gets before a fair tribunal, it’ll be reversed so quickly, it’ll make your head spin.”