A lawyer from Texas has been engulfed in the kind of technical difficulties only the last few years could bring after getting stuck in a kitten filter during a Zoom hearing.
Rod Ponton had to let judge Roy Ferguson know that he wasn’t a cat after the function was accidentally activated during a virtual court case.
As Ponton spoke, the cat’s eyes and mouth move. Two other lawyers look bemused as the incident unfolded and a Zoom conversation for the ages took place.
“Mr Ponton I believe you have a filter turned on in your video settings,” noted judge Ferguson.
“Can you hear me judge?,” Ponton replied from behind the cat facade.
Struggling to remove the feature, Ponton continued: “I’m prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”
The 394th Judicial District Court court itself posted the video on YouTube – under the headline Kitten Zoom Filter Mishap – and presiding judge Ferguson tweeted about the “true professionalism all around!”.
Ponton later told Vice the mistake happened while using his secretary’s computer, which had the filter on.
“I took it off and replaced it with my face,” Ponton explained. “It was a case involving a man trying to exit the United States with contraband and contraband cash. All it was was a mistake. It was taken off and we had the hearing as normal.”
After the video gained traction on social media, judge Ferguson wrote on Twitter: “IMPORTANT ZOOM TIP: If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off. This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th (sound on).
“These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!”
On a day of huge significance for the US as the impeachment trial of Donald Trump began, it appeared to come as a welcome respite.