Lawrence O'Donnell gave a hard-hitting interview to a piece of furniture on Monday night after Craig Sonner, the lawyer representing Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman, fled it and the MSNBC studio earlier in the evening before O'Donnell could actually talk to him.

Having no interviewee present did not phase O'Donnell, who wanted to make the point that he wasn't going to be lobbing the kinds of softballs Sonner had gotten used to on other programs. That's how O'Donnell opened the segment, practically spitting out his words: "He knew these questions weren't going to be the questions he was facing everywhere else. He wasn't going to get out of here with an easy interviewer, he wasn't going to be let off the hook with his lawyerly questions." 

Indeed, O'Donnell did have some hard questions lined up, as he demonstrated later in the segment by berating Sonner's empty chair:

  • Who is paying you? Who hired You? When, exactly, did they hire you?
  • Does George Zimmerman have a job? Does he have any property? Does he own anything?
  • Did you represent him when he was arrested for assault on a police officer in 2005? Did you represent him in a domestic violence case in 2007 when his girlfriend accused him of assault?
  • You said Zimmerman got a broken nose, can you show us photos of him that night with the broken nose, or even the next day?
  • You said Zimmerman's clothes had grass stains and other evidentiary material ... do you have that garment, can you show us what happened to it?"

Hardball indeed! Sonner would probably have been unable to answer most of the questions, or evaded them, as he did with much simpler queries from Orlando's WFTV news earlier Monday (unfortunately not embeddable). He said he hadn't met with Zimmerman, that Zimmerman was in hiding, that no evidence had been released to them "as far as I know." Sonner even said he hadn't heard the infamous 911 tapes that apparently reveal Zimmerman following Martin before shooting him. Sonner wouldn't even confirm that he was Zimmerman's lawyer, identifying himself instead as his "adviser." In fact, the only thing he did say is that Zimmerman stands by his self-defense claim, and that he's probably still in Florida. Honestly, the chair interview's more fun and about as informative.

Here's O'Donnell's interview with the chair (that comes at 6:38):

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