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Trials & Litigation

Dershowitz: Knock-knock joke could be grounds for mistrial motion

Posted Jun 26, 2013 6:05 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A knock-knock joke by George Zimmerman’s lawyer was neither funny nor appropriate, according to Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

The defense lawyer, Don West, began his opening statement on Monday with a joke intended to highlight the difficulty of choosing a jury in his client's high-profile trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Fox News reports. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, has claimed he acted in self-defense.

Here is West’s joke: “Knock-knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right, good. You’re on the jury.”

Dershowitz told CNN’s Piers Morgan on Monday that the joke could be the basis for a mistrial motion. “I would be furious at my lawyer" unless notified in advance about the joke, Dershowitz said. “In fact, I would ask my other lawyer to make a motion for a mistrial to start all over again.”

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Six jurors picked for Zimmerman trial; none are male and none are black"

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