Accomplished Texas attorney Rod Ponton was transformed into an adorable kitten Tuesday.
  • Texas attorney Rod Pontin appeared as an adorable kitten at a court hearing held on Zoom Tuesday.
  • "I'm here live, I'm not a cat," he said in a video that circulated online.
  • The judge used the moment to illustrate the judicial system's resilience during "tough times."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Texas attorney Rod Ponton insisted he is not a cat during a Zoom court hearing Tuesday where he appeared as an adorable kitten.

"I'm here live, I'm not a cat," Ponton - an accomplished criminal attorney -  said in the hearing.

"I can see that," Judge Roy Ferguson responded.

A clip of Ponton's transformation with a Zoom filter circulated online Tuesday after Ferguson, a judge based in Texas's 394th judicial district, posted a video of it to Twitter.

"IMPORTANT ZOOM TIP: If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off. This kitten just made a formal announcement on a case in the 394th," Ferguson wrote.

"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," Ferguson added. "Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!"

Ponton told Motherboard the filter was in place because he had used his secretary's computer.

"I was using her computer and for some reason, she had that filter on," he said. "I took it off and replaced it with my face. It was a case involving a man trying to exit the United States with contraband and contraband cash. All it was was a mistake. It was taken off and we had the hearing as normal."

While recordings of the court's proceedings are normally forbidden, Ferguson permitted Insider to use a screenshot from the video, saying it was released for educational purposes. Ferguson told Insider the video represents how the legal community endeavors to continue doing their work despite unusual circumstances.

"It is crucial to me that this not be couched as poking fun at or belittling the lawyer, but noting that it goes hand-in-hand with the legal community's effort to continue representing their clients, and at the incredible professionalism and dignity displayed by all involved," Ferguson said.

Ponton didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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