WATERBURY, Conn. ― Opening arguments in a defamation trial against Alex Jones revealed how his site, Infowars, received massive spikes in traffic as he spread lies about the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The arguments began on Tuesday for the trial, Jones’ second this year related to the his Sandy Hook lies. A jury is seeking to determine how much Jones owes for defaming eight families and an FBI agent with his claims that the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax.
Jones clearly benefited from spreading those lies, as attorney Chris Mattei, who is representing the families and an FBI agent who responded to the shooting, revealed in court based on internal website data.
On Dec. 14, 2012 ― the day a shooter killed 20 children and six adults at the elementary school ― Jones took to Infowars to claim the shooting was a false flag perpetrated by then-President Barack Obama to ban guns.
“They are going to come after our guns,” Jones said on his program that day in video played to the court. “Look for mass shootings, and suddenly it happens. They are coming, they are coming, they are coming.”
Jones continued to post videos about the shooting in the following days, including one titled: “Father of Sandy Hook Asks ‘Read The Card?’ Seconds Before Tear Jerking Press Conference.”
That month, the website got 24 million page views, according to internal website data revealed by attorney Mattei.
The following month, in January 2013, Jones continued to spread lies about the shooting. The website saw a 43% increase in traffic, getting 35 million page views that month alone.
Jones has been hit with several defamation lawsuits related to Sandy Hook, and lost every case again him in 2021 for failing to provide court-ordered documents. Last month, a Texas jury ordered Jones to cough up nearly $50 million in damages in his first Sandy Hook defamation trial.
During his opening statement, Mattei showed the six-person jury Infowars data revealing that from Jan 2012 to June 2019 ― a period over which thousands of articles were published on the site ― the second most popular was an article titled “FBI Says Nobody Killed At Sandy Hook Massacre.” Nearly 3 million people accessed the article directly, Mattei said.
“Use your common sense and life experience and come together as a community ― which is what you are ― to hold Alex Jones accountable for what he did in the minutes, the hours, the days, the months and the years after the worst thing that has ever happened to this community,” Mattei said.
Jones is being represented by Connecticut attorney Norm Pattis, a high-profile lawyer and part-time standup comedian who used the N-word and other slurs during a routine with his pants down earlier this year.
In his opening statement, Pattis rattled off the many conspiracies his client has slung over the years and whined that Hillary Clinton, who mentioned Jones’ lies during her 2016 presidential run, wasn’t being sued.
Pattis said the plaintiff’s attorneys were attempting to decide what the “Deplorables, MAGA Republicans, can and can’t watch in his country” and painted Jones as the real victim.
“His haters want him silenced,” Pattis told the jury.
Jones, who was not in court for opening statements, will testify in the trial, which is expected to last a month.