WEST TEXAS

Attorney-at-Paw? Zoom Filter Makes Lawyer Look Like Cat in Virtual Court Hearing

"I'm here live. I'm not a cat," Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton said

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A West Texas judge has a word of caution to those attending court hearings via Zoom: Always check for filters before logging on.

Judge Roy Ferguson's warning comes after an attorney accidentally joined a Tuesday video conference of a civil forfeiture court hearing while using a Zoom filter that made him appear like a fluffy white kitten.

"I'm here live. I'm not a cat," Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton said.

A West Texas attorney accidentally joined a court hearing with a Zoom filter of a cat turned on—and he couldn't figure out how to turn it off.

"I can see that," replied Ferguson, whose district covers five counties in West Texas, including the town of Marfa from which Ponton was calling.

The short video clip, which was shared online by Ferguson, ends with others coaching the attorney on how to remove the cat filter.

"I was using my secretary's computer," Ponton explained to NBC Today anchors in an appearance Wednesday morning. "She's got a young daughter and I don't know how the filter got on there."

In the Zoom video clip, Ponton with cat filter on, is heard earnestly saying "I'm prepared to go forward."

The video has spurred recent Yelp reviews for Ponton that read, "He's the purrrfffect attorney", and "Ready to claw away at your legal troubles."

"I was having lunch after that hearing and I was wondering why my phone was blowing up with calls from around the country and around the world," Ponton said on Today. "I didn't know what was going on!"

The judge said on Twitter: "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!"

"I always wanted to be famous for being a great lawyer. Now I'm famous for appearing in court as a cat," he told The Associated Press.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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