AUSTIN, Texas ― On the second day of a defamation trial that has forced Alex Jones to reckon with the lies he spread about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, a notorious conspiracy theorist took center stage.
For years, Jones and Infowars gave Wolfgang Halbig ― a 75-year-old extremist who continues to insist the shooting was a hoax ― a massive platform to spread lies and harass the families of dead children, even as others begged Infowars to stop.
In a 2014 Infowars video clip played in court Wednesday, Halbig told Jones he had “16 questions” that he wanted authorities to answer.
“Until they answer those questions, I can tell you children did not die, teachers did not die on Dec. 14, 2012,” Halbig says in the clip. In fact, 20 children and six adults died in the shooting, which stunned the nation and devastated the town of Newtown, Connecticut.
Despite warnings from Infowars staffers that Halbig was unreliable, Jones continued to have him on the program for years.
A jury will soon decide how much money Jones will have to pay to parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse, was killed at Sandy Hook. For years after the death of their child, Heslin and Lewis faced harassment due to Jones’ lies that the shooting never happened.
In an email shown to the jury Wednesday, Halbig reached out to the parents of a child with autism who died in the shooting. He blamed the parents for letting their daughter go to what Halbig called a “filthy” school. Halbig has made the false claim that the school was simply a shoddy building used to stage the shooting.
“You failed Josephine, the non-verbal child as you stated,” Halbig wrote in the 2014 email. “She needed you to protect her from all the serious health risks. That filthy and deplorable school with all that toxic waste, we call this child endangerment.”
Jones continued to platform Halbig for years, even as the conspiracy theorist kept emailing parents, including Lewis.
“Scarlett, it is just a matter of time and all that money you have has to be returned,” Halbig wrote to her in 2015. “Do some soul searching.”
That same year, someone claiming to be a law student wrote to Infowars, expressing worry about Halbig being platformed.
“This is completely insane and cannot go anywhere but a trashcan,” the email said of Halbig’s bogus claims. “This man seems to be grasping and stretching.”
The email was shared with other Infowars staff, but nothing happened. Jones continued to bring Halbig on.
In 2020, Halbig was arrested for allegedly spreading personal information about Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old son, Noah, was killed in the shooting. Halbig allegedly sent Pozner’s information, including his Social Security number, to a number of different law enforcement agencies and news stations.
Pozner also sued Jones and Infowars for defamation, and won by default judgment last year.
Ryan Grenoble contributed to this report.