Attorneys in Action

Prepare to Eat It, Giuliani-Style

What's that, fist? He talks too much?

In 1997, Rudy Giuliani (then the mayor of New York) hosted Saturday Night Live, and appeared in a sketch called “Janet Reno’s Dance Party” in which Janet Reno (then Attorney General of the United States) was played by Will Farrell (then Will Farrell). It was a completely ridiculous scenario in which Janet Reno hosts a dance-party TV show live from her basement, and ends up in a fight with Giuliani. Giuliani is reluctant at first, but after Reno takes the first punch, he dives in, saying, “Janet Reno, prepare to eat it, Giuliani-style!

He loses, of course.

In 2018, Rudy Giuliani (then a member of Donald Trump’s legal team) appeared on television again, this time in a sketch called “Fox News Network” in which the reporter asking him questions about Trump (then apparently the President of the United States) was played by Sean Hannity. This was an even more ridiculous scenario in which Hannity, previously a client of Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, asked one of Trump’s current lawyers about allegations that Trump knew Cohen secretly paid money to a porn star on Trump’s behalf during the campaign to keep her quiet, which is very likely a violation of campaign-finance laws, and that the money may have come from Trump himself.

And Giuliani confirmed it.

Trump “didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know,” Giuliani said. “But he did know the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this, like I take care of things like this with my clients.” Emphasis added, and I was just going to add emphasis to part of that sentence but then there was nowhere to stop. Trump knew “the general arrangement, that Michael would take care of things like this”? Like … paying porn stars? Or some more general arrangement of secretly paying people during a campaign to not say embarrassing things about a candidate? And, you also “take care of things like this with [your] clients”? You do? “I don’t burden them with every single thing that comes along,” Giuliani continued. “These are busy people.’’ Yep, totally understandable. These are busy people we represent. They can’t be bothered to make their own payoffs.

Giuliani specifically confirmed, in fact, that the money came from Trump, or at least that Trump “repaid” Cohen after the latter wrote the check, or dropped off the bag in a pre-arranged location, or however such payments are made under that general arrangement.

“What is surprising” about Giuliani’s statement, said a campaign-finance lawyer quoted by the Washington Post, “is that Trump recently said he knew nothing about the payment.” Either that man is easily surprised, or he meant it was surprising that Giuliani, a lawyer, would say on national television that his client lied about something that was quite possibly a felony. And that part does seem kind of surprising. But also kind of hilarious.

Speaking of surprise, Giuliani “appeared surprised to learn” from Hannity “that Cohen has said he made the payment to Daniels on his own,” contrary to what Giuliani had just said on the air. “He did?” Giuliani responded, apparently not having prepared in the slightest for this interview. (He did.)

So, not his funniest role ever, maybe, but close.