Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones testifies Thursday in a Connecticut courtroom in a second defamation lawsuit to determine what the InfoWars host should pay the families of Sandy Hook.
The tumultuous testimony was so frequently interrupted by objections and parallel bench lectures, that Judge Barbara Bellis at one point told the jury, “You’re going to do your drill today, those of you who wear Fitbits.”
Jones, who has suggested that the families who successfully sued him for defamation have a political agenda because they worked on gun control, acknowledged the risks involved in his profession as a conspiracy theorist and provocateur .
“The world is not an easy place. When people become political figures, they step into the arena,” Jones said.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Chris Mattei pounced.
“Were you just trying to suggest that my clients, these families, deserve what they got because they walked into the arena?” Mattei asked.
Jones answered “no” because his attorney objected to the question.
Jones’ testimony will resume this afternoon after a lunch break.
Bellis last year found Jones and Infowars parent company Free Speech Systems liable in a libel suit for calling the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School a hoax.
The jury will decide how much damages Jones should pay to an FBI agent who responded to the scene and to eight families of victims whom Jones called actors.
Before giving evidence, Jones spoke out amid the trial outside Waterbury Courthouse this week, calling the judge a “bully” and the trial a “political stunt”. At a press briefing on Wednesday, he told reporters he hadn’t “asked Sandy Hook beforehand” and apologized if he had caused anyone pain, but “did not create the story” that Sandy Hook was a hoax.
He repeatedly said he would not perjure himself by saying he was guilty.
“You can’t have a judge telling you to say you’re guilty when you’re not. That’s nonsense,” he said.
There is no guilt in civil trials like this. Plaintiffs successfully sued Jones for defamation in November 2021 over his comments, which included calling them “crisis actors,” claiming the massacre was “staged” and “the most untrue thing since the post. three dollars”.
Bellis found Jones liable for damages by default because he and his companies, like Infowars, showed “callous disregard” for discovery rules. The jury will now determine how much Jones and Free Speech Systems will have to pay the families of the children killed in the massacre.
So far, the jury has heard from several parents, including Jennifer Hensel, whose 6-year-old daughter Avielle Richman was among 20 children killed in the massacre. She told the jury on Wednesday she still feared for her family’s safety after receiving years of hate mail from people asking about her daughter’s death and checking the backseat of her car before getting in.
After her husband, Jeremy Richman, died by suicide in 2019, she began receiving emails from people also calling his death fake, she said.
“People were in the graveyard around Avielle’s headstone looking for evidence that Jeremy was dead,” Hensel said.
Other parents also testified to death threats, rape threats and clashes outside their homes.
The Connecticut lawsuit comes a month after a Texas jury ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of one of the victims.
In this defamation lawsuit, Jones was successfully sued by the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre after claiming that the shooting – where 20 children and six adults were killed – was a hoax, a claim he said he now believes to be “100% true”.