“Is this a struggle session? Are we in China?” Jones asked, referring to Maoist gatherings where people were publicly humiliated, after the plaintiffs’ attorney, Chris Mattie, pointed out the victims’ family members in the courtroom. “I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times, and I finished saying I’m sorry.”
The fatal shooting of 26 people, including 20 children, made headlines for years on Infowars and other fringe sites promoting the unsubstantiated assertion that family members of the victims were “crisis actors” involved in the government’s “pseudo-science operation” designed to curb of the rights of the Second Amendment. Jones later admitted that the massacre was “100 percent real” and that it was irresponsible to say otherwise.
Jones was ordered in August in a separate trial in Texas to pay more than $45 million in damages to the parents of Sandy Hook victim. He lost his Connecticut trial after Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in November that he was liable by default after refusing to turn over court-ordered financial records and other documents. Infowars and its parent company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy protection this year as Sandy Hook’s families filed a civil lawsuit.
Although Jones was evenly angered by much of his testimony, he Sometimes they duel orally with a mate. His lawyer also struggled to prevent him from giving detailed answers upon his awakening.
Bellis repeatedly asked jurors to leave the courtroom so that the scope of Jones’ answers could be discussed with attorneys. The frequency of their departure made her joke that they were going about their daily exercise.
During the hours-long session, Jones used one of Mattei’s questions to block the address of a website accepting cryptocurrency contributions. He also answered “no” to a question if his credibility was the most important thing to his audience, and insisted that his focus was on “crushing globalization”.
“Alex Jones is probably the most unsympathetic litigant I’ve seen in a long time,” said Jessica Levinson, professor of law at Loyola Marymount University.
“This is an issue of punishment, deterrence, and making people whole,” she said.
An Infowars representative could not be immediately reached early Friday.
How Alex Jones built the Right – even after Sandy Hook’s comments
In one exchange, Matty Jones was accused of placing targets on the backs of Sandy Hook’s parents, an apparent reference to his claim that they were crisis actors. The lawyer referred to the parents in the courtroom, calling them “real people,” to which Jones replied, “Like all Iraqis, you liberals were killed and loved.”
“You are unreasonable. You can turn emotions on, and turn them off, when you want to. You are just an ambulance chasing,” Jones added.
The scale and scope of the damages awarded by the jury will be closely monitored at a time of growing concern about misinformation and misinformation online.
“It’s important what these judgments are because they tell us how much we think people are hurt by this kind of talk,” Levinson said. “He tells us that this could be an effective way to try to shut down the Alex Joneses in the world.”
The details of the case — such as whether the jury was convinced Jones’ false statements were intentional lies — would help determine the type and extent of damages, said Eugene Voloch, a UCLA professor of law.
“If you’re going to try to convince a jury of punitive damages, you have to show that this is more than just plain wrong,” said Voloch, an expert on free speech law.
The Associated Press reported that Jones’ lawyer argued that damages should be limited and that relatives of victims exaggerated the damage caused by his client’s false assertions.
Several relatives of Sandy Hook victims have taken to the podium this week to share stories of being forced to travel under false names for security purposes and told they were going to hell by those who falsely claim the shooting was a hoax.
Jennifer Hensel, whose daughter Aviel was killed in a shooting and her husband committed suicide in 2019, testified that some conspiracy theorists said they believed she helped fake the tragedy and that her child was still alive.
“Oh my God, if it were, wouldn’t that be cool?” She said, her voice cracking.
The trial is set to resume on Friday, and Jones is set to continue to testify.