Alex Jones is to testify in the Sandy Hook hoax trial

Alex Jones is to testify in the Sandy Hook hoax trial

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) – Seven days after he tried to call the Sandy Hook school a hoax, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is expected to make his first courtroom appearance and begin testifying Thursday, as he and his a lawyer trying to limit the damages he will have to pay. pay to families who lost their loved ones in the massacre.

Jones was in Connecticut this week in preparation for his testimony, but was only briefly at the courthouse Tuesday and did not enter the courtroom. The Infowars host called the proceedings a “travesty of justice” and the judge a “truth” in comments outside the courthouse in Waterbury, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the scene of the 2012 shooting in Newtown.

Twenty first graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Meanwhile, relatives of several victims gave emotional testimony during the trial about being traumatized by what they called the shooting fake, including confrontations in their homes and in public and messages including death and rape threats. The plaintiffs include an FBI agent who responded to the shooting and relatives of eight of the victims.

Judge Barbara Bellis found last year that Jones was liable by default for damages to the plaintiffs without trial, as punishment for what she claimed was her repeated failure to turn over documents to their lawyers. The six-member jury alone will decide how much Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent company of Infowars, should pay the families for defaming them and intentionally causing emotional distress.

Bellis said in court Wednesday that she was willing to handle any arson evidence from Jones, with contempt of court proceedings if necessary.

Bellis was also expected to tell Jones, when he takes the stand for the first time and with the jury not in the courtroom, what topics he can’t talk about – including free speech rights and a $73 million settlement for Sandy Hook families earlier this year with gun maker Remington, which made the Bushmaster rifle used to kill the victims at Sandy Hook.

Jones was found liable by default in two similar lawsuits over the lie in his hometown of Austin, Texas, where a jury in one of the trials last month ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million in damages. to the parents of one of the children. killed. A third trial in Texas is expected to begin near the end of the year.

When Jones faced a Texas jury last month while testifying under oath, he moderated his rhetoric. He said he realized the falsehoods were irresponsible and that the school shooting was “100% true.”

“I unintentionally participated in things that hurt these people’s feelings,” asked Jones, who also admitted to raising conspiracy claims about major tragedies, from the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings to the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida, “and I’m sorry about that.”

Jones portrayed the Sandy Hook shooting as he was staged by crisis activists as part of gun control efforts.

Testimony at the current trial also focused on analytics data from a website run by Infowars employees showing how sales of dietary supplements, food, clothing and other items spiked around the time Jones spoke about the Sandy Hook shooting.

Evidence, including internal Infowars emails and depositions, shows dissension within the company over pushing falsehoods.

Jones’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, is arguing that any damages should be capped and has accused the victims’ relatives of exaggerating the harm the lies have caused them.

The relatives have confirmed that they still fear for their safety because of what the believers have done and could do.

Jennifer Hensel, whose 6-year-old daughter Avielle Richman was among the dead, testified Wednesday that she still monitors her surroundings, even checking the back seat of her car, for safety reasons. She said she wants to protect her two children, aged 7 and 5, from the false lies. A juror cried during her testimony.

“They are so young,” she said of her children. “Her innocence is so beautiful right now. And at some point there are a bunch of people out there who could hurt them.”

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