A defendant standing trial for attacking a corrections officer punched his own lawyer during a hearing in an Arizona courtroom.
Footage of Lamont Payne’s violent assault in Maricopa County was caught on court camera and released by officials.
It shows Payne striking out after being ordered to leave proceedings for repeatedly interrupting the judge.
As he stands – and without any apparent warning – he smashes his fist into attorney Vladimir Gagic, who is sat down. It was later suggested that he had felt ignored by the lawyer.
“He was swearing and rolling his eyes and making a scene,” Mr Gagic told local news network KTVK. “Just causing a commotion and being a troublemaker.”
The punch left the lawyer with a bloody nose but otherwise unhurt and apparently unperturbed.
“I didn’t feel any force,” he said. “I didn’t feel like pain or anything like that. It was just salty because you’re tasting somebody’s skin. It’s kind of gross, but that’s what I remember.
“I’ve been doing this close to 20 years, and I’ve had all sorts of clients, but nobody that actually acted out on it.”
Although the incident happened last year, the footage emerged this week after Mr Gagic announced he was to sue the Maricopa County Public Defence Service, who he was handling the case for.
They terminated his contract shortly afterwards, and he claimed he was never given a proper explanation.
In a statement about that decision, a spokesperson for the county said: “Mr Gagic’s contract was placed on temporary hold after multiple complaints about lack of communication with clients and another attorney.”