George Zimmerman’s defense attorney kicked off the first day of trial in the high-profile case with a knock-nock joke. Don West admitted that his approach was a “bit weird” in the context of the death of Trayvon Martin, but told jurors in his opening statement that they are the “perfect audience” for the bit:
WEST: Let me say, I would like to tell you a little joke. I know how that may sound a bit weird in this context under these circumstances. But I think you’re the perfect audience for it. As long as you don’t — if you don’t like it or don’t think it’s funny or inappropriate that you don’t hold it against Mr. Zimmerman. Hold it against me if you want, but not Mr. Zimmerman. I have your assurance you won’t.
Here’s how it goes: Knock knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right. Good. You’re on the Jury.
Nothing? That’s funny. After what you folks have been through the last two or three weeks.
Moments before the joke, the prosecution objected to West’s comments about his family history and the sayings of his mother. The lawyer informed the jury that he “grew up in a family that had certainly moments of great joy and moments of profound sadness.” “My mother used to actually — she still says,” he began, before the judge sustained the prosecution’s objection and he moved to the joke.
Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and claims that he shot Martin in self-defense. The prosecution is arguing that Zimmerman racially profiled Martin, stalked, and killed him.
After lunch, West offered a kind of apology for the joke, but still insisted it was funny: “No more bad jokes, I promise that… I’m convinced in was the delivery though, I really thought that was funny. I’m sorry if I offended anyone.”