George Zimmerman Trial Opens With Profanity And A Knock-Knock Joke
George Zimmerman’s murder trial, in which he’s charged with the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, began with two shocking opening statements from the attorneys – one opened with expletives, the other with a knock-knock joke.
State Attorney John Guy stood before the jury, and quoted Zimmerman’s words on the night of Martin’s murder. “F—ing punks,” Guy said. “These a—holes, they always get away.” He continued, “These were the words in that grown man’s mouth as he followed, in the dark, a 17-year-old boy who he didn’t know. And excuse my language, but those were his words, not mine.”
Defense attorney Don West took a different approach, instead of getting right into the gritty nature of the trial, he went with a little big of comedy. “Knock. Knock," West said, before responding to himself, "Who is there? George Zimmerman… George Zimmerman who? All right, good. You're on the jury." West’s ill-advised attempt at humor was meant to poke fun at the impossible task of finding a jury panel that hadn’t heard something about the high-profile case before the trial.
West went on to say, “George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder. He shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense after being viciously attacked. The evidence will show you how and why it happened the way he did.” He later apologized to the jury for the inappropriate crack.
Fellow lawyers have found West’s knock-knock joke to be entirely unprofessional. "This is a murder case,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Piers Morgan. “The victim's family is sitting in the courtroom with tears in their eyes and he's telling a knock-knock joke? I just don’t get it. I would be furious at my lawyer unless the lawyer told him he was going to open with that joke,” he added. “In fact, I would ask my other lawyer to make a motion for a mistrial to start all over again.”
While the prosecution plans to argue that Zimmerman murdered Martin after racially profiling him, Zimmerman’s defense team will contend that he shot Martin in self-defense.