During his Infowars show, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones frequently “lied and assaulted the parents of murdered children” when he claimed that such Sandy Hook elementary school massacre was a hoax, a lawyer for one of the victim’s parents told a Texas jury on Tuesday.
Mark Bankston, the attorney for the families of the 20 first-graders and six instructors who were killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre in 2012, said Jones had a “massive campaign of lies” and recruited “wild extremists from the fringes of the internet… who was as cruel as Mr. Jones wanted them to be” to the families, as Jones looked on and every once in a while shook his head.
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On his show, Jones claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax and “the whole thing was completely phony,” according to Bankston, who aired video excerpts of Jones alleging that the shooting was staged and a hoax. “It just didn’t happen,” Jones remarked in the video clips.
Bankston told the jury ahead of time that Jones’ case will be that “This has nothing to do with the law. There is no such thing as free speech when it comes to defamation… Lying costs money, while speaking is free.
A lawyer for Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed in the attack, said they will seek $150 million for mental grief and reputational damage, as well as additional penalties for punitive damages.
Lawyer Andino Reynal referred to Jones as one of the “most controversial individuals in this nation” during his opening remarks, saying that Jones’ statements concerning Sandy Hook “that we don’t dispute were wrong.”
According to Jones, such statements were penalized by Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and Twitter for breaching their policies against hate speech. According to Reynal, who asked the jury to restrict damages to $1, Jones has already been “canceled” and has lost millions of dollars.
Talkshow host Reynal is shown as “trying to give an alternative vision” but fooled by some of his guests. That said, Reynal stated that Alex Jones was incorrect to believe these people, but not in spite of the fact that he did so. “He did it because he had faith in it… ” He argued that citizens had a right to appear on Infowars and express their thoughts on the subject matter of their choice.”
It was also described as an important case for freedom of expression. He added, “I believe in his ability to express it and I believe in every American’s ability to pick what he or she watches, listens to, or believes.”
Daniel Jewiss, the Connecticut police chief investigator in Sandy Hook, and Daria Karpova, an Infowars producer, are among those expected to speak on Tuesday.
It is possible that the jury might inflict a severe financial setback on Jones’s conspiracy-peddling enterprises. YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify have already banned him for breaking their hate speech regulations, and he claims to be in debt to the tune of millions of dollars, a claim the plaintiffs deny out-of-hand
Prior to his own lawyer’s opening remarks, Jones ranted to reporters outside the courtroom about how the case was a “show trial” that violated the first amendment of the United States Constitution.
By portraying Sandy Hook as a hoax perpetrated by actors, Jones was found guilty of defamation in both Texas and Connecticut courts. Due to Jones’ failure to comply with court orders and turn over documents, judges in both states imposed default judgments against him without a trial.
Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, are being sued by the families of eight Sandy Hook victims as well as an FBI agent who responded to the school.
Since then, Jones has admitted that a shooting did occur. A deposition given by Jones in April disputed the Sandy Hook parents’ claims that he was to blame for their suffering, including death threats and harassment from Jones’s supporters.
The Sandy Hook families’ attorneys have portrayed a different image of Jones’ finances since his court papers last year showed he had a negative net worth of $20 million.
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According to court papers, Infowars, which offers nutritional supplements and survival gear, grossed more than $165 million from 2015 to 2018. On his Infowars show, Jones has also encouraged listeners to send money.
Nearly two months have passed since a gunman opened fire on the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 students and two teachers. After Sandy Hook, this was the bloodiest school shooting that has taken place since then.
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