Giuliani denies urging US Capitol attack

·2-min read

Rudy Giuliani says he didn't really mean for anyone to take him seriously when he urged a mob of Trump supporters to engage in "trial by combat" on January 6 before they stormed the US Capitol.

Former president Donald Trump's then personal lawyer on Thursday asserted his fiery speech was "clearly hyperbolic" and claims that "no reasonable listener" would take it literally, even though that's exactly what the violent crowd of thousands did.

"No reasonable [person] would perceive Giuliani's speech as an instruction to march to the Capitol, violently breach the perimeter and enter the Capitol building and then violently terrorize Congress into not engaging in the Election Certification," Giuliani's lawyers said in a new legal filing in federal court.

Giuliani's lawyers latched onto his use of the word "trial" to suggest that he was actually calling for Trump supporters to engage in some sort of quasi-legal process for overturning the election instead of storming the Capitol to hunt down perceived opponents.

"The statement was clearly hyperbolic and not literal," the filing said. "And even if it were to be perceived literally, Giuliani was clearly referring to an event in the future after evidence of election fraud is collected."

Trump and Giuliani launched a sprawling campaign of disinformation about supposed fraud that they claim tainted Biden's win.

Even though dozens of judges rejected their claims, both men continue to baselessly claim the election was stolen from Trump, charges that led to the Capitol riot.

The former mayor was responding to a lawsuit filed by Representative Eric Swalwell that accuses Giuliani and Trump of inciting the riot to prevent Congress from doing its constitutional duty of certifying the election results.

A similar suit filed by Representative Bennie Thompson invokes the Ku Klux Klan act, a 19th-century edict aimed at preventing racist intimidation of democratically elected officials.

Along with Trump and Giuliani, that suit targets extremist pro-Trump white nationalist groups including the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.