It’s a civil foreclosure hearing like any other hearing, except for a lawyer cat.
The courts usually don’t let cats argue cases. But this is Rod Ponton, a district attorney in Presidio County, Texas, unable to figure out how to turn off a cat filter during his Zoom call during Tuesday’s hearing in Texas’ 394 Judicial District Court.
The result was a video that was instantly hailed on the internet as an instant classic, in the rare company of classics like Knife Kid and BBC Dad. It offers a harmless appeal when many are going through tough times – and Mr. Ponton has embraced it in good spirits.
“If I can make the country giggle for a second during the tough times they’re going through, I’d be happy to let them do it at my own expense,” he said in a past interview. phone on Tuesday afternoon.
Even though the shared recording was less than a minute long, its comedy played out every second, as if it had been meticulously scripted.
“Mr. Ponton, I believe you have turned on the filter in the video settings,” Judge Roy Ferguson, who chaired the case, began by telling Mr. Ponton in the video.
“Augggh,” replied Mr. Ponton angrily, when his kitten’s face looked at the corner of the screen desperately, its eyes filled with horror, embarrassment, and sadness. “Can you hear me, Judge?” he asked, though the sound never had problems.
H. Gibbs Bauer, another lawyer on the call, put on his glasses and leaned forward to see the magic on his screen better. He adjusted his tie, as if unconsciously realizing his supporting role, but kept his face straight.
Likewise, a man with a stone face in another box, identified as Jerry L. Phillips, did not seem flustered by the cat.
Mr. Ponton continued.
“I don’t know how to get rid of it,” he said. “I have my assistant here and she’s trying.”
To get the hearing going, he suggested, “I am prepared to continue that.”
Then it is important that he explains: “I am here directly. I’m not a cat ”.
This led Mr. Phillips to look up and eventually the conversation drew a smile and a laugh from him when Judge Ferguson replied: “I can see that.”
In the interview, Mr. Ponton, who represented the State of Texas in the case, said that he was using the secretary’s computer and that she had been “executed” by mistake.
He wasn’t on Twitter and didn’t know he had become an international phenomenon until he started getting calls from reporters just over an hour after the hearing ended, he said. The video on the court’s YouTube page and Judge Ferguson himself tweeted out a link.
Generally speaking, the episode took place less than a minute before he figured out how to turn off the filter and they got back to work as usual.
“My older and less funny face popped up, and we continued the hearing,” he said.