Waterbury, Connecticut. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones appeared in court Thursday in Connecticut as he and his attorney are trying to limit the damages he will have to pay for spreading a lie that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax.
More than a dozen family members of some of the 20 children and six teachers killed in the shooting also attended to monitor his testimony at Waterbury High Court, which is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Newtown.
Jones was expected to be the first witness called, but there were delays as the court handled Wi-Fi issues in the courtroom.
Jones was in Connecticut this week in preparation for his appearance. He held a news conference Wednesday outside the courtroom, criticizing the proceedings – as seen on Infowars – calling them a “mockery of justice” and calling the judge a “tyrant”. He made similar comments on his way to the courtroom Thursday, noting that he might invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and not answer some questions.
“This is not really a trial,” he said. “This is a show trial, a literal kangaroo court.”
Meanwhile, many of the victims’ relatives gave emotional testimonies during the trial about being traumatized by people who described the shooting as fake, including confrontations in their homes and in public, and letters including death and rape threats. Prosecutors include an FBI agent who responded to the shootings and relatives of eight of the victims.
Judge Barbara Bellis last year found Jones presumptively liable for damages to plaintiffs without trial, as punishment for what she called his repeated failures to turn over documents to their attorneys. A six-member jury will decide just how much Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent company of Infowars, should pay to defame them and intentionally cause emotional distress.
Bellis began the day by going with Jones on topics he can’t testify on — including free speech rights, and the Sandy Hook families’ $73 million settlement earlier this year with gun maker Remington (the company made the Bushmaster rifle used to kill victims at Sandy Hook) Or the percentage of Jones performances that discussed Sandy Hook.
“This is not the forum for you to give that testimony,” Bellis said. Jones indicated that he understood.
Bellis said in court on Wednesday that she was prepared to deal with any seditious testimony from Jones, with contempt for court proceedings if necessary.
Jones was also found presumptively responsible in two similar court cases over a hoax lying in his hometown of Austin, Texas, where a jury in one of the trials ordered Jones last month. Pay nearly 50 million dollars In the damage done to the parents of one of the murdered children. A third trial is expected to begin in Texas towards the end of the year.
When Jones faced a Texas jury last month and testified under oath, he toned down his tone. He said he realized lying lies were irresponsible and the school shooting was so “100% real.”
“I inadvertently participated in things that hurt the feelings of these people,” said Jones, who has also admitted to raising conspiracy allegations about other mass tragedies, from the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings to the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida, and I sorry for that “.
Jones portrayed the shooting of Sandy Hook as organizing the actors in the crisis as part of a gun control effort.
Certification in the current trial also focused on website analytics data run by Infowars employees showing how their sales of nutritional supplements, foods, clothing and other items rose as Jones spoke about the Sandy Hook shooting.
Evidence, including Infowars’ internal emails and affidavits, shows a rift within the company over the push for deceptive lies.
Jones’ attorney, Norman Bates, argued that damages should be limited and accused the victims’ relatives of exaggerating the harm the lies caused them.
Relatives testified that they still feared for their safety because of what and what trick believers might do.
Jennifer Hensel, whose 6-year-old daughter, Aviel Richman, was among the dead, Wednesday, testified that she still monitors her surroundings, even checking the back seat of her car, for safety reasons. She said she was trying to protect her two children, ages 7 and 5, from the lying lies. One juror cried during her testimony.
“They are very young,” she said of her children. “Their innocence is very beautiful at the moment. At some point there is a crowd of people who could harm them.”
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