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Man Doesn't Know His Mic Is On, Insults Judge in Hearing

Liberty Mutual insurance adjuster monitoring trial via videoconference calls judge an 'idiot'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2021 7:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – A California courtroom became the latest venue for a hot-mic incident last month when an insurance adjuster insulted the judge while monitoring the proceedings remotely. The Mercury News reports that Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Roberta Hayashi was trying to figure out where jurors should be seated during an April 21 hearing on a deadly 2016 car crash, and the confusion of the moment apparently annoyed someone watching via videoconference, per a transcript. Suddenly, out of the loudspeakers positioned around the courtroom, a voice complained, "Oh my God, this f---ing judge is an idiot." (The Los Angeles Times reports a slightly different variation: "Oh my God, the judge is a f---ing idiot.") Either way, Hayashi didn't appreciate the expletive, or someone calling her an idiot, and she sent the jurors out of the courtroom so she could figure out who said it.

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Vincent San Filippo, who was monitoring the trial for Liberty Mutual via the Microsoft Teams comms platform, was soon identified as the culprit. "I'm sorry you think I’m an idiot, but I really think you ought to mute your microphone before you say that," Hayashi reprimanded him. She also called his wording "unacceptable," especially his use of profanity. San Filippo kept interrupting Hayashi to explain he was frustrated over trying to keep track of the seating arrangements, though she didn't accept that grievance. "Your personal frustration is not an excuse for inexcusably rude and disrespectful comments in open court," Hayashi retorted. San Filippo, for his part, was also clueless as to how he'd become the latest hot-mic victim. "I always mute my mic," he says, per the Mercury News. "I have no idea how it was on." He did apologize to Hayashi, and the trial was allowed to proceed, as Hayashi decided jurors hadn't known who'd spoken. (Read more videoconference stories.)

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