WATERBURY, Connecticut (Associated Press) – Seven days after being tried for the Sandy Hook school shooting as a hoax, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is expected to appear for the first time in a courtroom and begin testifying Thursday, as he and his attorney try to limit damages. that he must receive. Payment to families who lost loved ones in the massacre.
Jones was in Connecticut this week in preparation for his testimony, but he only appeared briefly in the courtroom Tuesday and did not enter the courtroom. The Infowars host blasted the proceedings as “pseudo justice” and the judge a “tyrant” in comments outside the courtroom in Waterbury, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the scene of the 2012 shooting in Newtown.
Twenty first graders and six teachers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Meanwhile, many of the victims’ relatives gave emotional testimony during the trial about being traumatized by people who described the shooting as fake, including confrontations in their homes and in public places 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 said in court on Wednesday that she was prepared to deal with any seditious testimony from Jones, with contempt for court proceedings if necessary.
Billiss was also expected to tell Jones, when he first takes the stand and with no jury in court, what topics he can’t talk about – including free speech rights and the Sandy Hook families’ $73 million settlement earlier this year with gunsmiths Remington, which made the Bushmaster rifle used to kill victims at Sandy Hook.
Jones was also found presumptively liable in two similar court cases for a hoax lying in his hometown of Austin, Texas, where a jury in one trial last month ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of one of the children. killing. 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 deceptive lies were irresponsible and that the school shooting was “100% real.”
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, testified, “And I’m sorry about 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.”