Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones testified in his second Sandy Hook defamation trial Thursday for the lies he spread about those who were killed in the school shooting.
Jones dodged questions and claimed ignorance during a full day of testimony in which he denied having a role in Infowars videos attacking the current court proceedings and claimed not to know how much money the Infowars store had made as Infowars promoted its coverage of a “kangaroo court.”
“I think this is a deep state situation,” Jones said of the trial while on the stand.
For years, Jones used his conspiracy platform Infowars to falsely claim the 2012 Connecticut shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead was a staged event with “crisis actors.” Jones, who has already lost this case through default judgment, will soon find out how much a jury in the state where the shooting happened will make him pay the families he lied about.
Attorney Chris Mattei, who is representing the Sandy Hook plaintiffs, grilled Jones about the damage he caused to grieving family members. In one exchange, Jones tried to claim he didn’t call the parents actors, despite having done so on video numerous times over the years.
Chris Mattei: “For years and years and years, you called these families actors, correct?”
Alex Jones: “No.”
Mattei: “You called [Sandy Hook parent] Robbie Parker an actor many times, correct?”
Jones: “I said it looked like he was acting.”
Mattei brought up a lawsuit Jones filed against media company The Young Turks in 2019 after the group falsely claimed Jones had sent child exploitation material to the Sandy Hook lawyers when handing over discovery documents. But the material came from an outside source in an email sent to Infowars that Jones hadn’t opened but that got included in the discovery documents. Mattei asked if Jones’ reputation was damaged the more the lie spread.
“I think that’s fair to say,” Jones agreed.
Mattei then pulled up an exhibit showing The Young Turk’s misleading story had just 20 retweets and 37 likes on Twitter.
“Your lies about Sandy Hook reached 550 million just on social media alone. Did you recall that testimony?” Mattei then asked Jones.
“Yes, I recall it,” Jones grumbled. “Preposterous.”
Mattei later discussed parent Robbie Parker, whose daughter Emilie was killed in the shooting. For years, Jones attacked Parker based on a video of the grieving father giving a nervous laugh prior to a press conference discussing the death of his child.
Mattei played the full video of Parker’s press conference in court, in which the father talked about his little girl and pleaded for “compassion for complete strangers, and not just in times of sorrow and tragedy.”
“For years, you put a target on his back, didn’t you?” Mattei asked Jones, his voice rising. “Didn’t you?”
Mattei’s question led to this tense exchange:
Jones: “You switch on and off emotions when you want. It’s ambulance chasing.”
Mattei: “Why don’t you show a little respect. You have families in this courtroom that lost children, sisters, wives, moms―
Jones: “Is this a struggle session; are we in China? I’m done saying I’m sorry.”
By the end of the court session on Thursday, Judge Barbara Bellis threatened a contempt hearing over disruptions or a failure to follow rules in the courtroom.
“I will have a zero-tolerance policy from now on with counsel, so you can expect a contempt hearing if anyone steps out of line. And Mr. Jones, same thing,” Bellis said.
Evidence shown to a jury last week revealed that as Infowars spread lies about the Sandy Hook shooting, its traffic and sales skyrocketed.
In September 2015, for instance, Infowars published a bogus story titled “FBI Says Nobody Killed At Sandy Hook Massacre.” Revenue from the Infowars store ― which sells an amalgamation of survival gear and dietary supplements ― saw an increase of nearly $200,000 the day the website published its false claim, according to sales data shown at the trial.
While profits at Infowars went up, the families of those killed in the shooting faced harassment. Erica Lafferty, whose mom, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, was the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary, testified Wednesday about how people sent death and rape threats to her in the mail after her mom was killed.
“For 27 years of my life, that woman was my best friend,” Lafferty said on the stand Wednesday. “And for people to tell me that she didn’t exist, how do you just let that happen?”
Lafferty testified that she ended up having to move five times because of the harassment she faced. Even today, she said she has to use an alias when calling for a car or checking into a hotel.
The harassment was “swallowing me whole,” she added. As Lafferty testified on the stand, Jones stood outside the courtroom, ranting to cameras about how the trial was unfair to him.