Rudy Giuliani claims he was referencing 'famous documentary' Game of Thrones with 'trial by combat' comment

Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has denied calling for violence ahead of the deadly US Capitol riot last week in perhaps the strangest way possible.

Giuliani, who has been at the centre of a number of headline-making gaffes in recent months, repeated his boss' false claims of election fraud in front of a large crowd of supporters of the outgoing President in Washington DC. 

"If we are wrong, we will be made fools of, but if we're right, a lot of them will go to jail," Giuliani, once the Mayor of New York, said. "So let's have trial by combat."

Not long after, many of the people in that crowd stormed the US Capitol, disrupting President-elect Joe Biden's certification as the victor of November's presidential election and leaving five people dead. 

The President has been impeached a second time for his alleged role in inciting the crowd, but Giuliani says he's not responsible. 

But his ham-fisted explanation of what he was really trying to do perhaps hasn't helped his cause.

"I was referencing the kind of trial that took place for Tyrion in that very famous documentary about fictitious medieval England," he told US politics site The Hill. 

That "very famous documentary about fictitious medieval England"? HBO's smash hit - and completely fictional - swords and sorcery drama Game of Thrones

"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."

It's not exactly clear what Giuliani meant.

If he's comparing himself to Tyrion, he might want to watch the show again (spoiler alert!) - the dwarf's champion, Oberyn, suffers a humiliating defeat at the hands of  Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane, who "smashes out Oberyn's teeth, gouges out the man's eyes with his thumbs, before crushing Oberyn's skull between his fists", according to the Game of Thrones Wiki. 

Giuliani went on to say he was "talking about trial between machines", and said his comments "incited no violent response from the crowd". 

About an hour later, hundreds of them breached the Capitol's security - the first that's happened in more than 200 years. 

In its prime, Game of Thrones was an unstoppable force of popular culture - but many critics say its quality dipped markedly as it drew to a close, much like the Trump presidency. 

Giuliani has had a rough few months. He unsuccessfully helped Trump in many lawsuits to try and overturn the 2020 election results and in November appeared at a press conference with hair dye sweating down his face.