Alan Dershowitz: Knock-Knock Joke by Zimmerman's Lawyer Inappropriate

Monday, 24 Jun 2013 05:10 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Famed civil-rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz says he was stunned that George Zimmerman's defense lawyer told a "knock-knock joke" in his opening statement to the jury in the Trayvon Martin case.

"This is a murder case. 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," the Harvard Law professor told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below.

"If a student ever did that in a mock court in my class, I would … ask him are you in the right school? Maybe you want to be a stand-up comedian or an entertainer. And, by the way, if you do, come up with better jokes."

Defense attorney Don West made the joke as the trial of Zimmerman — a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Martin in what he says was self-defense — opened in Sanford, Fla.

West's "joke," referring to the difficulty in a picking a jury, told jurors: "Knock. Knock. Who is there?" West said. "George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? Ah, good. You're on the jury."

"The only saving grace [to the joke] is that, apparently, nobody laughed. It wasn’t very funny," Dershowitz said.

"But I don’t get that. This is such a serious case . . . You have to be so dead serious. You're the defense lawyer. You're standing between yourself and the defendant and if the jury doesn’t like you, the jury's not going to like the defendant.

"And everything in this case comes down to George Zimmerman's credibility."

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