Alex Jones lashes out at critics at trial over Sandy Hook hoax claims

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Sept 22 (Reuters) – Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ignited a courtroom shouting match on Thursday, railing in opposition to critics as he testified in a trial to find out how a lot he owes households of victims who died within the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary College mass capturing, which he falsely claimed was a hoax.

Tensions boiled over after roughly 4 hours of testimony within the Waterbury, Connecticut courtroom, not removed from Newtown, the city the place the bloodbath passed off. Jones fulminated in opposition to “liberals” and refused to apologize to a packed gallery of victims’ households.

“These are actual individuals, do that Mr. Jones?” a lawyer for the households, Chris Mattei, requested.

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“Similar to all of the Iraqis you liberals killed and love,” retorted Jones, a Texas-based webcast host who’s being sued as a result of he mentioned nobody was killed at Sandy Hook and the households have been merely actors. A lot of his followers then tormented and threatened the households.

The defamation trial considerations solely how a lot Jones and the mum or dad firm of his Infowars website should pay in damages for spreading lies that the U.S. authorities staged the killing of 20 kids and 6 workers members as a pretext for seizing weapons.

The testimony triggered a three-way shouting match between Jones, Mattei and Jones’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, who repeatedly objected to Mattei’s questioning.

After jurors left for the day, Choose Barbara Bellis instructed the attorneys that she would implement a “zero tolerance” coverage for disruptions and would maintain contempt-of-court hearings for anybody who “steps out of line,” together with Jones.

Jones additionally examined the decide’s endurance after Mattei performed a video clip wherein he praised his followers for putting Infowars stickers across the Connecticut courthouse.

“Conservatives put up stickers and we’re unhealthy, I do know, all of us must go to jail,” Jones mentioned in a mocking tone on the witness stand, prompting the decide to briefly clear the courtroom and maintain a dialogue with attorneys. Jones doesn’t face any felony fees.

The clip was performed as Mattei offered proof that Jones’ followers had harassed Sandy Hook households on-line and in particular person, together with at memorials for victims.

Jones additionally acknowledged calling Bellis a “tyrant” after Mattei displayed a picture posted on Infowars depicting Bellis with crimson lasers capturing from her eyes. He mentioned he was not liable for the submit.

Bellis has largely barred dialogue of politics and conspiracy theories on the trial.

Jones can also be not permitted to dispute his legal responsibility for damages, after Bellis issued a default judgment final 12 months as a result of he repeatedly didn’t adjust to courtroom orders.

Jurors should resolve solely what Jones and Infowars’ mum or dad Free Speech Programs should pay the plaintiffs, who additionally embody an FBI agent, for the ache and struggling they are saying he brought about.

A month in the past, the conspiracy theorist was hit with a $49.3 million verdict in an analogous case in Texas, the place Free Speech Programs is primarily based.

Jones’ attorneys hope to void many of the payout, calling it extreme below Texas legislation.

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Reporting by Jack Queen in New York; Enhancing by Amy Stevens, Mark Porter and Richard Chang

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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