20 September 2022

Alex Jones makes appearance outside Sandy Hook damages trial

20 September 2022

A defiant Alex Jones has made an appearance outside a Connecticut court, declaring his innocence despite already being found liable for spreading the lie that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax.

A jury has been hearing evidence for a week to determine how much Jones must pay the families of eight victims and an FBI agent who was among the first to respond to the shooting that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators.

Jones arrived at the courthouse at about 9.30am, accompanied by one of his lawyers and repeated declarations he made last week on his Infowars web show that the proceeding is nothing more than a “show trial”.

I was not wrong about Sandy Hook on purpose. I questioned it

“This is a travesty of justice and this judge is a tyrant,” Jones said outside the courthouse.

“This judge is ordering me to say that I’m guilty and to say that I’m a liar. None of that is true. I was not wrong about Sandy Hook on purpose. I questioned it.”

Jones left a short time later, indicating he would not be giving evidence on Tuesday.

Judge Barbara Bellis found Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, liable by default last year without a trial, as punishment for what she called his repeated failures to turn over documents to the Sandy Hook lawyers.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis (H John Voorhees III/Hearst Connecticut Media/AP) (AP)

Jones has complained that he was found “guilty” without trials. There is no guilt in civil trials like this one in Connecticut, or one last month in Texas where a jury awarded nearly 50 million dollars in damages to the parents of one of the children killed in the shooting.

The judge “has now ordered me to not say I’m not innocent and ordered me to say that I have not profited from Sandy Hook”, Jones said on Tuesday.

“That’s ordering me to perjure myself. I will not perjure myself under the order of a judge.”

Jones is not being allowed to present defences arguing he is not liable, including that the First Amendment gave him the right to say the shooting did not happen and to raise questions about it.

Sandy Hook families arrive at Waterbury Superior Court (Carol Kaliff/Hearst Connecticut Media/AP) (AP)

A gunman killed 20 first graders and six educators at the school on December 14 2012.

The plaintiffs say Jones’s promotion of the hoax lie on his show led to the families being threatened and harassed by deniers of the shooting.

They say they have endured death threats and in-person harassment, video recording by strangers and abusive comments on social media. Some families moved out of Newtown to avoid the harassment.

They also say that while Jones talked about the shooting, sales of the dietary supplements, clothing, food and other items he sells on his show surged.

A representative for Free Speech Systems told the court last week that she believed Jones and his company had made at least 100 million dollars (£87 million) in revenues since the school shooting.

Sandy Hook Elementary School (Julia Nikhinson/AP) (AP)

Jones, who has said over the past few years that he believes the shooting did happen, also condemned the Texas trial on his show.

Under oath and facing a jury in Austin, he said he realised the hoax lies were irresponsible and hurt people’s feelings, and he was sorry for that.

Jones has painted the trials as a conspiracy by Democrats and the media to put him out of business and silence him. He also has complained he was found “guilty” without trials.

There is no guilt in civil trials like the ones in Connecticut and Texas, and him being found liable for damages without trials was a sanction against him for refusing to obey court orders to turn over evidence to the plaintiffs.

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