Zimmerman trial disrupted by contemptuous Skype-callers

As a professor gives evidence to the Zimmerman trial via Skype, he gets bombarded by those who think it's funny to call him and block the screen.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
So very funny. USA Today Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When a murder trial is televised, it becomes a form of entertainment.

And, as the clock winds down toward Independence Day, there are many independent spirits with idle time.

"Hey, let's mess with the Zimmerman trial! That should be entertaining!"

So it came to pass that, as CBS News reports, a professor's testimony became victim to somewhat smaller minds.

Gordon Scott Pleasants is a professor at Seminole State College, where George Zimmerman -- standing trial for the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin -- studied.

As he gave evidence via Skype, several people who perhaps think themselves the apogee of wit decided to Skype-call the visible username (that of prosecutor Rich Mantei), so that Pleasants' face would be progressively blocked on the screen.

Defense attorney, Mark O'Mara, not slow to notice what was happening, offered: "There's now a really good chance that we're being toyed with."

Defense attorneys tend to be familiar with the concept of chance, so one can reasonably assume that most, if not all, of these callers -- self-identified with full (but not necessarily real) names in some cases -- were just cocking a tiny snook.

Pleasants himself seemed genial enough about the interruption. After a brief pause, he continued his testimony via cell phone.

Some might mount a high pony and declare that these fine people were merely trying to show up Skype's deficiencies -- though a pseudonymous account could have been created (and the name masked) for the express purpose of keeping interruptors out.

If the court had opted for a Google Hangout, for example, an intrusion would not have occurred. You can only hangout with those to whom you're already connected.

Still, some of these disruptors might just be the same sorts who merrily go online and exhort for justice and freedom of speech.

You might imagine that here they were making a mockery of both. This is a murder trial. Someone's life has been taken. Someone else's future is at stake.

Couldn't they just sit and watch? Oh, who does that these days?