Rudy Giuliani with Donald Trump in November 2016, when Trump was President-elect.
  • Rudy Giuliani told ABC News that he would not be able to represent President Trump during his second impeachment trial because he himself is a witness in the case.
  • Giuliani appeared with Trump at the January 6 "Save America" rally where Trump is alleged to have incited an insurrection, and called for "trial by combat."
  • It was widely expected that Giuliani, who served as lead counsel on the president's various challenges to the 2020 election, would head Trump's impeachment legal team.  
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Rudy Giuliani now says he won't be a part of President Trump's impeachment defense team because he was a witness to what happened.

The president's personal lawyer told ABC News Chief White House Jonathan Karl that he is ineligible to defend Trump against the charges of inciting an insurrection because he too was at the event. 

"Because I gave an earlier speech [at the January 6 Trump rally], I am a witness and therefore unable to participate in court or Senate chamber," he told Karl.

Giuliani appeared at Trump's "Save America" rally in the hours prior to the Capitol Building insurrection and told the crowd that it was time for "trial by combat."

"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," he said. (He later claimed he was simply making a reference to "Game of Thrones.")

Following Giuliani's comments, the New York State Bar Association launched a formal investigation into whether he should be disbarred.

Two sources close to the White House had previously told Reuters that Giuliani was on the shortlist to represent Trump during the president's second impeachment trial of his term.

The former New York City mayor led the president's challenges to the certification of the 2020 election and repeatedly made baseless claims of election fraud. 

Giuliani is one of the few constants in the president's life, though last week the Washington Post reported that Trump had instructed his aides not to pay Giuliani's legal fees. The president was said to be outraged over Giuliani's $20,000 a day fee and had stopped taking his calls.

Alan Dershowitz, the controversial Jeffrey Epstein associate and member of OJ Simpson's defense team, was also said to be among Trump's top picks for his impeachment defense team.

Since then the former Harvard Law professor told The Boston Herald that he would defend Trump in the "court of public opinion" but would not be a part of his legal team.

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