US lawyer accidentally turns on Zoom cat filter during court hearing

A Texas court hearing over Zoom has gone hilariously wrong after a lawyer accidentally activated – and then couldn’t turn off – a cat filter.

In the meeting of the 394th District Court of Texas, one of the lawyers, Rod Ponton, somehow became a fluffy white kitten in a moment that’s since gone viral on social media.

Mr Ponton’s head, transformed into the feline, appears alongside the two men in suits and appears to talk.

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“Mr Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in the video settings. You might want to …” Judge Roy Ferguson tells him.

“Can you hear me, judge?” Mr Ponton responds, as the kitten.

“I can hear you. I think it’s a filter,” the judge replies.

“It is, and I don’t know how to remove it,” the lawyer – still in fluffy cat form – tells him.

“I’ve got my assistant here, she’s trying to, but I’m prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”

“I can see that,” the judge tells him, trying to assist him in removing the filter before the video comes to an end.

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In a phone interview with The New York Times, the lawyer took the moment in his stride.

“If I can make the country chuckle for a moment in these difficult times they’re going through, I’m happy to let them do that at my expense,” he said.

Mr Ponton added that his secretary – whose computer he was using for the call – was “mortified” by the mistake.

But the whole mishap took less than a minute before he figured out how to turn the filter off and could return to business as usual.

“My older and less humorous face popped up, and we continued with the hearing,” he said.

Judge Ferguson, who shared a link of the clip to Twitter, said: “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 filter lawyer should incredible grace. True professionalism all around.”

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