WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is on trial in Connecticut for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre a hoax, continued Friday to describe the proceedings as “kangaroo court” from his Infowars studio in Texas.
Jones’ comment became the focus of testimony on the fourth day of the trial, with an attorney for the Sandy Hook families questioning a representative of Jones’ Infowars brand about how seriously the company was taking the lawsuit.
The attorney, Christopher Mattei, showed the jury a photo he said was from an Infowars webpage, depicting the trial judge with lasers shooting out of her eyes.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, how seriously Infowars takes this lawsuit,” Mattei asked company representative Brittany Paz.
“Ten. This is serious to me,” Paz replied.
The exchange took place as Jones prepares to attend the trial in Waterbury next week and the judge, Barbara Bellis, is considering a request from the families’ lawyers to limit what Jones and his lawyer can say and argue in court. . Jones is expected to testify, but it’s unclear when.
“They’re telling the world this is a real trial, but I’m guilty when I get to it and I can’t say I’m innocent,” Jones said on his Infowars webcast on Friday. “Everyone basically knows it’s a fraud.”
He has previously said judges’ default rulings against him – finding him liable without a trial – were unfair and suggested they were part of a plot to bankrupt and silence him.
Jones and his company Free Speech Systems are on trial in a lawsuit brought by an FBI agent who responded to the shooting and relatives of eight of the 20 first graders and six educators killed in the December 2012 massacre in Newtown. They say Jones inflicted emotional and psychological damage on them and they were threatened and harassed by Jones supporters.
Jones has already been convicted of spreading the myth that the shooting never happened, and the six-member jury will decide how much he and his company should pay the plaintiffs in damages.
In a motion filed Thursday, attorneys for the families asked Bellis for several limitations on what Jones and his attorney, Norman Pattis, can say and argue at trial, including barring them from alleging that holding Jones and Free Speech Systems accountable of their actions offends the First Amendment.
Pattis outlined Jones’ defense in a motion filed Friday in response to the families’ motion.
“Defendants have argued, and intend to argue, that Plaintiffs have motives, biases and an interest in exaggerating their claims against Defendants, namely: their interest in gun control regulation and their hostility to Mr. Jones,” Pattis wrote.
Pattis also said Jones disputes the amount of damages to be awarded and focuses on the families’ motives for “overstating their damages: namely: their desire to silence Alex Jones not just because he hurt them , but because they find his politics and political affiliations repugnant.
Pattis added: “Mr. Jones’ conspiracy theory may be offensive to some and ridiculous to others, but he didn’t gain millions of listeners by forcing people to tune in. He speaks a language that many Americans seem ready to accept.
Mattei showed the jury that viewership and sales of products such as nutritional supplements and clothing on his website skyrocketed around the time he was reporting on the Sandy Hook shooting, suggesting that Jones was taking advantage of shooting.
Pattis countered in court Friday that the jury should be allowed to hear that Jones believes there is a conspiracy to take the guns away and enslave people.
“They presented to this jury the theory that Jones is marketing fear to make money,” Pattis said. “Our contention is that he recognizes the fear of the people and earns a dollar to support that premise.”
Last month, a jury in Texas awarded the parents of one of the slain Sandy Hook children nearly $50 million in a similar lawsuit against Jones and his company over the hoax allegations. Jones also faces a third lawsuit in Texas later this year over how much he should pay the parents of another child killed in the shooting.
The Connecticut trial is set to resume on Tuesday, with the judge indicating that she will then decide to further limit what the defense can argue regarding the value of Jones’ assets.
Associated Press writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this story from Connecticut
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.