It was a civil bail case like any other hearing except for lawyer Cat.
Courts usually do not allow cats to argue. But Rod Ponton, a county attorney here in Presidio County, Texas, is unable to figure out how to turn the cat filter off on his zoom call during a hearing Tuesday in Texas’ 394th Judicial District Court.
The result was a video that was immediately promoted as an instant classic on the Internet, a rare company. Videos like Knife Kid and BBC Dad. It introduced an injection of harmless levitation when many are experiencing a difficult time – and Mr. Ponton took it in good spirits.
“If I can dodge the country for a moment in these difficult times, I will be glad that I will give them at my expense,” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon.
Although the shared recording took less than a minute, its comedy ranged from second to second, as if it were carefully scripted.
“Mr. Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings,” Judge Roy Ferguson, presiding over the case, tells Mr. Ponton in the video.
“Auggh”, an exaggerated Mr. Ponton replied, as his kitten looks badly at the corner of the screen, its eyes filled with terror, shame and sadness. “Can you hear me, Judge?” He asks, though audio was never an issue.
H. Gibbs Bauer, another lawyer, puts his glasses on the call and leans forward to investigate the surprise on his screen. He adjusts his tie, as if subconsciously knows of his supporting role, but keeps a straight face.
As identified in another box as a stone-faced man, Jerry L. Phillips, appears to be by Cat.
Mr. Ponton continues.
“I don’t know how to get it out,” he said. “I have found my assistant and she is trying.”
To further the hearing, he proposes: “I am ready to proceed with this.”
Then, importantly, he clarifies: “I live here. I am not a cat. “
This causes Mr. Phillips to see and eventually, the exchange attracts a smile and a laugh as Judge Ferguson replies: “I can see it.”
In the interview, Mr. Ponton, who was representing the state of Texas in the case, said that he was using his secretary’s computer and that he was “hostage” by mistake.
She said she has not been on Twitter, and did not know that she had become an international phenomenon, until calls started coming in from reporters for more than an hour after the hearing had ended, she said. The video was on the court’s YouTube page, and Judge Ferguson himself Tweeted a link.
Overall, the episode took less than a minute when they felt how to turn the filter off, and returned to business as usual.
He said, “My older and less humorous face surfaced and we continued the hearing.”