A Texas lawyer accidentally left a kitten filter on during a Zoom hearing on Tuesday, hilariously telling the judge ‘I’m not a cat’ as he frantically tried to remove the animated image.
The amusing mishap happened to Presidio County attorney Rod Ponton during a live streamed hearing this morning for the 394th Judicial District Court of Brewster.
The video begins with presiding judge Roy Ferguson telling Ponton: ‘I believe you have a filter turned on in video settings and you might want to turn it off.’
Ponton is then heard letting out a panicked ‘aghh’, as the cat filter over his face begins shifting its eyes back-and-forth and moving its mouth in unison with his voice.
‘Can you hear me judge,’ the feline-emblazoned Ponto is heard asking, his voice quivering.
Ferguson confirms that he can hear Ponton and reiterates that he believes he has a filter switched on.
‘It is [a filter]’, Ponton hastily interjects. ‘And I don’t know how to remove it. I’ve got my assistant here, she’s trying to, but ahhh I’m prepared to go forward with it… I’m here live, I’m not a cat.’
The hilarious video begins with presiding judge Roy Ferguson telling Ponton: ‘I believe you have a filter turned on in video settings and you might want to turn it off’
The amusing mishap happened to attorney Rod Ponton during a live streamed hearing this morning for the 394th Judicial District Court of Brewster
At this point, the two other people present at the hearing, H. Gibbs Bauer and Jerry L. Phillips, begin to laugh.
Judge Ferguson, however, manages to keep a straight face, offering a deadpan response of, ‘I can see that.’
The judge then begins calmly offering Ponton a step-by-step guide for how to remove the kitten filter, before the video abruptly cuts out.
Ponton has since revealed that his was using his secretary’s computer at a remote office in Presidio, telling the San Antonio Express that this is the first time something like this has happened in the eight months he’s been using Zoom amid the pandemic.
‘It was certainly not an intentional thing to put the cat image up there but s*** happens,’ he laughed. ‘If I can make everybody laugh for a moment at my expense, I’ll take it.’
Speaking to Vice, Ponton said the hearing was being held for a man who was attempting to exit the US with contraband and illicitly-obtained cash.
‘It was taken off and we had the hearing as normal,’ he said of the filter.
Judge Ferguson later tweeted about this incident, writing: ‘IMPORTANT ZOOM TIP: If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off. This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th.’
He continued in a second post: ‘These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!’
Ponton is then heard letting out a panicked ‘aghh’, as the cat filter over his face begins shifting its eyes back-and-forth and moving its mouth in unison with his voice
Judge Ferguson (above in different hearing) managed to keep a straight face throughout the ordeal
Reaction among legal colleagues in the region has been cropping up on Twitter in the hours since the video was shared online.
Kendyl Hanks called the exchange ‘one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen’.
‘The poor lawyer can’t figure out how to turn off the filter so offers to proceed anyway, promising the judge he’s not a cat. And kudos to [Judge Ferguson] for walking him through it calmly without bursting into giggles.’
Harold Cook added: ‘Well we all suspected Rod Ponton would one day become accidentally famous for something. But I didn’t have this on my bingo card.’
Ponton was formerly the District Attorney in the Big Bend region and was once the city attorney for Presidio.
He also appeared in the Netflix documentary The Confession Killer in 2019 about the infamous convicted murderer Henry Lee Lucas, whom he represented in his 1986 capital murder prosecution.