During opening statements on the first day of the George Zimmerman trial, a defence attorney
told a poorly received knock-knock joke about what it takes to get on the jury for this case.Zimmerman defence attorney Donald West took a lot of heat for the joke, and ended up apologizing when he resumed his opening statements after a recess.
Satirical newspaper The Onion came out with a post on Tuesday mocking West: “George Zimmerman’s Attorney Opens Second Day Of Trial With Trayvon Martin Impression.”
In the made-up scenario, West says:
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’d like you to imagine for a moment that it’s a dark night in Sanford, and my client sees an imposing stranger in an oversized hooded sweatshirt coming towards him—it might go a little something like this,” West said before turning his back to the jury, pulling on a hoodie, grabbing a bag of Skittles and spinning back around to face the court.
West’s joke on Monday, which no one laughed at, got a lot of bad press.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said the joke was inappropriate for a murder trial and might even be grounds for a mistrial. He told The Steve Malzberg Show: “I would be furious at my lawyer unless the lawyer told him he was going to open with that joke. In fact, I would ask my other lawyer to make a motion for a mistrial to start all over again.”
With all the negative attention Zimmerman got before the trial even started, the criticism of his attorney’s judgment is not a good sign for his defence.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Martin, a young black man wearing a hoodie and walking around Zimmerman’s neighbourhood at night. The defence says Martin viciously attacked Zimmerman.
Testimony in the trial continues Tuesday.
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