Online pranksters interrupted the George Zimmerman trial via Skype on Wednesday in a moment of unwanted levity while a witness was testifying.
Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College who had at one point taught Zimmerman, was attempting to answer questions from the prosecution remotely when he began receiving an ever increasing amount of incoming calls on his Skype account.
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In the video, we see and hear Pleasants do his best to answer the questions as first one, then two, then eventually three and four incoming call pop-ups appear on the screen. Accompanied by ping-like sounds, the pop-up messages soon begin to clutter the entire screen, making it nearly impossible to continue the testimony.
At one point, the constant barrage of intrusive pop-ups is so egregious that it becomes obvious to Zimmerman’s defense attorney Mark O'Mara the courtroom is being toyed with by online nuisances, commonly referred to as Internet trolls.
"There's now a really good chance that we're being toyed with, just so you know," O'Mara tells the judge as he approaches the screen.
Soon after, the noticeably frustrated Judge Debra Nelson, who having already asked the now giggling professor repeatedly to find another way in which to testify remotely, tells the attorneys to "hang up the phone," adding, "I don’t want those up on the screen."
Pleasants was able to eventually resume his testimony via a cell phone connection, The Smoking Gun reports
This isn’t the first time the very serious case has been interrupted by folly or unusual acts.
At the start of the trial, defense attorney Don West faced harsh criticism for his telling of a knock-knock joke in his opening statements
During the prosecution’s opening remark, assistant state attorney John Guy used an expletive filled quote from Zimmerman to shake up the courtroom, which also raised some eyebrows.
Then earlier this week, West’s daughter uploaded to Instagram a controversial photo of herself, her sister, and her father holding up three vanilla ice cream cones with the caption "we beat stupidity," The Huffington Post reports
The 29-year-old Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch coordinator in Sanford, Fla., is facing second-degree murder charges for having shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old Floridian named Trayvon Martin, who on the night of February 26, 2012, was walking through the defendant’s gated community.
Zimmerman claims to have killed Martin in self-defense.
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