Alex Jones testifies in court over Sandy Hook conspiracies

Jones has previously said outside the courtroom the trial is not a trial and he will be charged in a “kangaroo court”.

WATERBURY, Connecticut — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones took the stand Thursday at his Connecticut libel trial as he sought to limit the damages he was paid for spreading the 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 educators killed in the shooting also turned up to observe his testimony at Waterbury Superior Court, about 20 miles from Newtown, where the shooting took place.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Christopher Mattei shared a video from Jones’ Infowars web show in which he called the mass shooting “wrong as a three-dollar bill” and called the victims’ parents “crisis actors.”

“Mr. Jones, if someone were to falsely claim that a group of families who had lost loved ones were actors and faked the deaths of their loved ones, that would be a terrible statement, right?” Mattei asked Jones before saying that video showed.

“In context, it could be, yes,” Jones replied.

Jones was found guilty without a trial for plaintiffs last year as punishment for what the judge called his repeated failure to turn over documents to her attorneys. The six-person jury is now deciding how much Jones and Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent company, should pay families for defaming them and intentionally causing them emotional distress.

In often emotional testimonies, family members have described ongoing death threats, personal harassment and abusive comments on social media. Some moved to avoid abuse.

Jones was in Connecticut this week to prepare for his performance. He held a press conference outside the courthouse on Wednesday, blasted the trial – as he did on his Infowars show – as a “distortion of justice” and called the judge a “tyrant”. On his way into the courthouse on Thursday, he made similar remarks.

“It’s not really a process,” he said. “This is a show trial, a literal kangaroo court.”

The plaintiffs’ attorneys began by asking Jones if he thought Judge Barbara Bellis was a bully and if he called a lot of people bullies.

“Only if they behave like that,” he said.

Jones was also asked about a page on his Infowars website that described the process as “kangaroo court” and advertising on that page. He said the site was created by his staff. He was also asked for daily earnings reports, but Jones said he couldn’t answer.

Bellis began the day by going through the issues Jones failed to mention in his testimony: freedom of speech rights; this year’s $73 million settlement by the Sandy Hook families with gunmaker Remington (the company made the Bushmaster rifle used to kill victims at Sandy Hook); the percentage of Jones shows that have discussed Sandy Hook; and whether he benefited from those shows or a similar case in Texas.

“This is not the appropriate forum for you to make that statement,” Bellis said. Jones indicated that he understood.

But the jury had to be sent out of the courtroom several times while attorneys argued over the scope of Jones’ answers.

“You guys are going to exercise today, those of you who wear Fitbits,” the judge told the jury.

Jones has also been found liable in two similar lawsuits over the hoax lies in his hometown of Austin, Texas, where a jury in one of the trials convicted Jones last month pay nearly $50 million Compensation for the parents of one of the children killed. A third trial in Texas is scheduled to begin later this year.

When Jones testified under oath before the Texas jury last month, he toned down his rhetoric. He said he realized the prank lies were irresponsible and the school shooting was “100% real.”

Jones’ shows had portrayed the Sandy Hook shooting as being staged by crisis actors as part of gun control efforts.

Testimony in the current trial also focused on website analytics data conducted by Infowars employees showing how sales of dietary supplements, groceries, clothing and other items were increasing at the time Jones was speaking out about the Sandy Hook shooting .

Evidence, including internal Infowars emails and affidavits, also shows disagreements within the company over the dissemination of the hoax lies.

Jones’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, argued that the damage should be limited and accused the victims’ families of exaggerating the damage the lies had caused them. Alex Jones testifies in court over Sandy Hook conspiracies

Laura Coffey

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