Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

SNL cold open mocks Trump’s trials and legal team after a week of defence setbacks

The Trump character said he doesn’t intend to pay his legal team for their labour

Michelle Del Rey
Monday 22 January 2024 11:07 GMT
Donald Trump says he ‘aced’ cognitive test after Haley questions his mental fitness

Former president Donald Trump’s legal defence team was mocked in a Saturday Night Live skit that premiered over the weekend after he appeared in court as part of his defamation trial against E Jean Caroll.

Ms Carroll, a journalist who previously successfully sued the former president in 2019 claiming he raped her and then lied about it, is seeking further damages in the case, which the jury will determine at the end of the ongoing trial.

The former president is being represented by Alina Habba in the case, who is played by actress Chloe Fineman in the skit that appeared on TV on Saturday.

“Hello! I’m Alina Habba,” Fineman says in front of the Manhattan Courthouse set. “I’m the attorney for President Trump in the second defamation trial of E Jean Carroll.”

In a joke seemingly mocking Ms Habba’s experience level, the actress says, “I want to make this perfectly clear. I am new at this, and I am learning.” Fineman continues to say how the judge in the case, Lewis A Kaplan, has been “unfair from the beginning” toward her client.

This week, Ms Habba was scolded by the judge and received criticism of her cross-examination of Ms Carroll, resulting in a sidebar and and sustained objections.

“Now, the president may or may not stop for brief remarks but due to a strict gag order, he will not be commenting on anything pertaining to this case. Mr Carroll of the judge.”

Mr Trump was previously fined $10,000 for breaking a gag order in a separate civil trial where the Trump Organization is accused of fraud.

“Thank you Alina. You’re great on TV” James Austin Johnson, who plays the former president said, before poking fun at his legal team. “Maybe the worst lawyer I’ve ever had, which is quite an accomplishment.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

“Look at this team. This is the bottom of the barrel, folks. This is who said yes.” He added: “I’m in the lead for president and this is the best I can get. Feels like a red flag, no?”

The character then turns to his attorneys and tells them that he doens’t intend to compensate them for their labour. “You’re not getting paid by the way,” he says before commenting on the presiding judge.

“We are at courthouse and yes we will be abiding by this horrible gag order, so I will not be saying that the judge is an idiot or where he lives or what kind of crappy car he drives,” he said before trailing off on a tangent about the state of the country.

“We just got back from Iowa, where we won very big. Very big in Iowa,” he said. “I want to congratulate Mr DeSantis on a truly embarrassing showing. He went to 99 counties but b**** couldn’t get one.” Mr Trump then begins referring to the Florida Republican Governor as “Ron DeStupid.”

Another one of Mr Trump’s former rivals, Vivek Ramaswamy, received a mention in the skit. Earlier this week, Mr Ramaswamy dropped out of the race and the pair sparked rumours of the businessman potentially becoming Mr Trump’s running mate.

The Mr Trump character said Mr Ramaswamy “has agreed to live in my suit pocket”.

“I love my little Ratatouille,” the comedian said, referencing the eponymous 2007 film.

Johnson then began talking about his character’s mental capability, which came into question this week after he confused former president Barack Obama with President Joe Biden and presidential candidate Nikki Haley with former speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi.

“As you can see, I am doing very well cognitively. Doing great with cognitive,” the comedian said. “I’m more cognitive than ever.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in