Prosecutors filed a motion on Monday tying the photo of defence attorney Don West eating “celebration” ice cream with his daughters to the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, a friend of slain teenager Trayvon Martin’s who got flustered during cross-examination.
The photo had the caption “we beat stupidity.”
The image gained widespread attention on the Internet on Friday, after Jeantel’s testimony, but a local news station reported that West says he snapped the photo before Jeantel took the stand.
Nevertheless, the prosecution states:
Following [Jeantel’s] trial testimony … co-counsel [West] apparently celebrated his performance. Co-counsel’s daughter, who was present (and has often been present) in court (in the front row), was also present at the celebration, and posted a photograph of that celebration on her Instagram internet account, containing a caption which included references to the ‘stupidity’ of the witness, and, in this murder trial, ‘dad killed it.’
The prosecution concluded by asking that the court “ensure that witnesses and court proceedings are treated with respect and not as occasions for inappropriate jokes.”
West fired back, filing a response that says the prosecution didn’t even “have the decency” to contact the defence team to ask about the photo before filing its motion. West admitted to taking the photo the day before Jeantel testified, and said he didn’t know the picture would be posted on social media and he didn’t approve of or know about the caption.
West called the prosecution’s filing “irresponsible” and a “distraction to the trial.” He also noted that after the photo made the rounds on the Internet last week, his family has received threats of violence.
Testimony continues this week in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman, who claims he shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin because he believed his own life was in danger.
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