Jose Baez weighs in on George Zimmerman murder trial

Former Casey Anthony attorney says defense joke was insensitive

ORLANDO, Fla. - The attorney who represented Casey Anthony during her murder trial weighed in on the George Zimmerman case, saying a defense attorney made a big mistake during opening statements.

[Chat recap with Tony Pipitone from the courtroom]

Jose Baez on Monday said Zimmerman's attorney, Don West, should not have told a knock-knock joke to begin his opening statements.

West joked about  the difficulty of picking a jury for a case that stirred nationwide debate over racial profiling, vigilantism and Florida's stand your ground law.

"Knock. Knock," West said.

"Who is there?"

"George Zimmerman."

"George Zimmerman who?"

"All right, good. You're on the jury."

"It showed tremendous insensitivity in starting out with a joke, especially a bad one," Baez said.

[VIEW: Zimmerman trial page | DOWNLOAD: Zimmerman trial app]

Meanwhile, Baez, who no longer represents Anthony, said there was a strategy to the state's use of profanity in its opening.  A prosecutor repeated obscenities Zimmerman uttered while talking to a police dispatcher moments before the deadly confrontation with Trayvon Martin.

"Profanity perks up jurors and, because they're naturally not expecting it and once they hear something like that, it grabs their attention," Baez said.

Baez told Local 6 that he thinks prosecutors currently have the momentum but added that it's very early in the case.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin, who was 17 years old.  Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense.

Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, in 2011.

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