Skype blunder interrupts George Zimmerman trial

Sonja Boles-Melvin, registrar for Seminole State College, looks at a document presented by Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei, during the George Zimmerman trial in Seminole County circuit court, in Sanford, Fla.
(Jacob Langston / Associated Press)

Live from the George Zimmerman murder trial: Tay, Jaffa, Marcus and Anthony.

They’re now some of the Skype users who hijacked a courtroom testimony that was being conducted via a video chat.

On Tuesday, a worldwide television audience was treated to a sad display of technology ineptness at the trial of Zimmerman.

One of Zimmerman’s former college professors was testifying via a Skype video chat when random users started calling into the conversation after Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei’s Skype username was displayed on courtroom video screens.


Judge Debra Nelson ordered Mantei to get off the phone and get the pop-ups of incoming callers off the screen.

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Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara said with a laugh, “There is now a really good chance that we are being toyed with -- just so you know.”

The incident could have been prevented had Mantei changed his Skype settings to block calls from people not in his contacts list.


Scott Pleasants, a Seminole State College professor conferencing in from Colorado, had to finish his testimony by speaker phone.

It wasn’t the first technical gaffe in the trial.

On Monday, Zimmerman’s Social Security number, phone number and other personal details were broadcast on television. Attorneys had failed to give a court clerk the chance to black out sensitive details, CNN said.

Latest in the Zimmerman trial


About two dozen calls flooded the Skype chat on Tuesday from users including bowden216, Tay, Jaffa, Marcus and Anthony Tracy. A Twitter user claiming to have been one of the Skype callers on Tuesday joked, “I guess my trolling was too much for the courts #zimmerman”.

Zimmerman could be sentenced to life in person if convicted of the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin.

Watch the courtroom chaos below:



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