Alex Jones trial - live: Infowars host expected to testify on Sandy Hook hoax after setback in bankruptcy case

·13 min read

The second defamation trial of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones continues in Connecticut as the conspiracy theorist faces the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that he claimed was a hoax in broadcasts to his millions of viewers.

Jones appeared outside the courthouse on Tuesday morning and in brief statements to reporters called Judge Barbara Bellis “a tyrant”. He did the same on Wednesday lunchtime, ranting about the media’s portrayal of developments in his company’s bankruptcy trial.

He is now expected to testify on Thursday. In earlier testimony, the jury was shown how Jones’s audience grew exponentially following the tragedy and company revenues increased dramatically.

Multiple videos have been shown of Jones’s egregious claims about the shooting, including when he mocked the parents of victims as “crisis actors” and displayed completely false information about the events of the day.

Jurors will decide how much he should pay relatives of eight victims and the FBI agent who responded to the scene of the 2012 massacre.

Key Points

‘There were false statements’ on Sandy Hook, says Infowars lawyer

11:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A lawyer for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones‘ Infowars empire acknowledged on the witness stand Wednesday that the show and website spread falsehoods about the Sandy Hook school shooting.

“I don’t think that we disagree that there were false statements made,” Brittany Paz testified at a civil trial involving Jones’ claims that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax concocted as a pretext to tighten gun regulations.

Read more:

Infowars lawyer: 'There were false statements' on Sandy Hook

Jones’s audience grew exponentially after Sandy Hook massacre, rep says

10:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A representative for Free Speech Systems, the parent company of InfoWars, told a courtroom that Alex Jones’s audience grew “exponentially” after the Sandy Hook massacre.

The right-wing conspiracy theorist is facing trial in his second defamation case brought by the family of a victim for his claims that the elementary school shooting was a “hoax.”

Brittany Paz testified that the growth seen since 2012 has led to “billions” of social media impressions, coinciding with the date of the shooting.

InfoWars rep says Alex Jones’s audience grew exponentially after Sandy Hook massacre

09:30 , Oliver O'Connell

InfoWars founder Alex Jones speaks to the media outside Waterbury Superior Court during his defamation trial in Connecticut (Getty Images)

Sandy Hook trial judge jokes she’ll ‘call in sick’ when Infowars host testifies

08:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The judge in Alex Jones’s Sandy Hook defamation trial has joked that she’s going to “call in sick” when the far-right conspiracy theorist takes the stand.

The hilarious exchange unfolded in a court in Connecticut on Wednesday during a sidebar between Judge Barbara Bellis and Mr Jones’s attorney Norm Pattis.

Rachel Sharp has the story.

Alex Jones judge jokes she’ll ‘call in sick’ when he testifies in Sandy Hook case

Watch: Victim’s mother says she wasn’t supposed to be in school that day

07:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Johnny Depp’s lawyer weighs in on Alex Jones’s latest Sandy Hook defamation trial

06:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Johnny Depp’s attorney has weighed in on Alex Jones’s latest defamation trial over the Sandy Hook massacre, saying that “lies are not protected” by the First Amendment.

Benjamin Chew appeared on Law & Crime on Tuesday to speak about the case currently playing out in a courtroom in Connecticut, where jurors will decide how much in damages the far-right conspiracy theorist must pay to families of victims of the 2012 mass shooting.

Mr Chew, who was one of the lead members of Mr Depp’s legal team during his successful defamation case against Amber Heard, pointed out that the courtroom is “a very different environment” to the extremist’s conspiracy show Infowars when it comes to being able to spread “heinous lies”.

Rachel Sharp reports.

Johnny Depp’s lawyer weighs in on Alex Jones’s Sandy Hook defamation trial

Watch: Victim’s daughter received death and rape threats

04:30 , Oliver O'Connell

ICYMI: Witness questioned about Jones criticism of Sandy Hook trial

03:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is on trial in Connecticut for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre a hoax, continued Friday to describe the proceedings as a “kangaroo court” from his Infowars studio in Texas.

Jones’ commentary became a focus of testimony on the fourth day of the trial, with a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families questioning a corporate representative for Jones’ Infowars brand about how seriously the company was taking the trial.

Read more:

Witness questioned about Jones criticism of Sandy Hook trial

Watch: Judge threatens both attorneys with contempt of court over sniping at each other

02:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge prepares for Alex Jones to take stand

01:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The judge overseeing the Connecticut trial of Alex Jones said Wednesday she is prepared to handle any incendiary testimony from the Infowars host when he is called to the stand this week in a defamation lawsuit filed by people who lost relatives in the Sandy Hook school massacre.

Judge Barbara Bellis last year found Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, liable for spreading the lie that the 2012 elementary school shooting was a hoax. Her decision came as a result of the conspiracy theorist failing to turn over documents in the case.

Jones on Tuesday called Bellis a tyrant and said she would be forcing him to perjure himself and say “that I’m guilty and to say that I’m a liar.”

Read more:

Judge prepares for Alex Jones to take stand in Connecticut

Watch: Jones talks about developments in bankruptcy case

Thursday 22 September 2022 00:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones suffers blow in Infowars bankruptcy

Wednesday 21 September 2022 23:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The parent company of Alex Jones’ Infowars suffered a substantial blow in bankruptcy court as a judge blocked an attorney and a restructuring executive from overseeing the case due to “lack of transparency” on financial information, including about the conspiracy theorist’s extravagant spending habits.

Megan Sheets reports.

Alex Jones suffers blow in Infowars bankruptcy case amid Sandy Hook trial

Alex Jones calls Sandy Hook trial judge a ‘tyrant’

Wednesday 21 September 2022 22:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones launched into a furious rant as his Sandy Hook damages case resumed, calling the judge a “tyrant” and insisting he didn’t broadcast lies about the mass shooting “on purpose”.

Outside the court on Tuesday, Mr Jones told reporters: “This is a travesty of justice and this judge is a tyrant. This judge is ordering me to say that I’m guilty and to say that I’m a liar. None of that’s true. I was not wrong about Sandy Hook on purpose.”

Alex Jones calls judge a ‘tyrant’ as Sandy Hook trial resumes

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:27 , Oliver O'Connell

Court adjourns for the day.

Alex Jones is expected to testify tomorrow.

Video deposition: Robert Jacobson

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:26 , Oliver O'Connell

The court is now seeing a video deposition from Robert Jacobson who previously worked at Infowars for Alex Jones.

Mr Jacobson was subpoenaed and tells plaintiffs’ lawyers that he would have testified without one.

He wanted people to know that Jones and his writers were not doing legitimate journalism and there were repercussions in the form of what happened to the Sandy Hook families.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Henshell tells the jury that she and her late husband had two more children both under the age of ten and she will one day have to explain everything about this to them.

She has to scan for danger alone and it is all on her.

There is no cross-examination at the end of her testimony.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:17 , Oliver O'Connell

In the sidebar, it is agreed to clarify any questions regarding the suicide, that Ms Henshell is not claiming Jones caused her husband’s suicide.

Sandy Hook trial judge jokes she’ll ‘call in sick’ when Infowars host testifies

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:10 , Oliver O'Connell

The judge in Alex Jones’s Sandy Hook defamation trial has joked that she’s going to “call in sick” when the far-right conspiracy theorist takes the stand to testify.

The hilarious exchange unfolded in a court in Connecticut on Wednesday during a sidebar between Judge Barbara Bellis and Mr Jones’s attorney Norm Pattis.

Rachel Sharp reports.

Alex Jones judge jokes she’ll ‘call in sick’ when he testifies in Sandy Hook case

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:10 , Oliver O'Connell

When her husband died by suicide in 2019, his death became part of the wider conspiracy theory.

As she begins to explain she was told that people were in the cemetery looking for his grave, there is an objection from the defence team and a side bar.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 21:08 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Hensel recalled another girl in Sandy Hook who looked like Avielle and was her reading partner, but was a few years older.

After her daughter died, the other girl was included in the hoax claims that Avielle was still alive and was one of the children who sang at the Super Bowl as part of the Sandy Hook choir.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 20:58 , Oliver O'Connell

The Hensels launched a foundation dedicated to neuroscience, studying “what causes somebody to be violent, and what protects somebody from becoming violent.”

Studying the biology of violence was a novel idea at the time and the couple worked on it together.

Initially, they received a great deal of support, but they were also accused of being fraudsters trying to fleece the American public in some emails.

They then received messages saying their daughter was alive. Then that she never existed and that they were actors.

The couple tried to ignore it.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 20:52 , Oliver O'Connell

After that day she remember the many funerals as she lived near the main highway in the town and could see the cars and processions going by.

Ms Hensel says she’d heard from other families who had their children’s funeral first that the “media was relentless” and that people showed up who thought it was a hoax.

“We did our best not to publicly state” where or when the funeral was, she says.

In January of 2013, they found out more about the hoax but didn’t realise they were part of it.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 20:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Hensel talks about meeting her husband, their marriage, and having Avielle come into their lives.

On the day of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, they were going to keep her home from school and take her to see the Rockettes. She went in for the morning as there was an activity at school that morning.

Witness: Jennifer Hensel

Wednesday 21 September 2022 20:35 , Oliver O'Connell

Jennifer Hensel is now testifying. She is the mother of Avielle Richman, who died at Sandy Hook.

Her husband, Jeremy Richman, died by suicide in 2019.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 20:33 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Bellis reiterates her strong desire to have this case not be about politics and specifically calls out Jones’s defence team for trying to turn it into that.

There is another sidebar: “My neck hurts from turning to the left so much,” Judge Bellis says.

It transpires that we will have one more witness today and it sounds like Jones will take the stand tomorrow.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 20:02 , Oliver O'Connell

There is a lot of sniping between the lawyers after they both play a clip from the same Alex Jones broadcast. Judge Bellis threatens both of them with a contempt charge if they continue to bicker in her courtroom.

After a quick-fire round of questioning in which Ms Lafferty reiterates that she does not know Jones’s views on a number of topics because she has not watched or read any of the content he has produced, she is asked why the case was brought.

She says: “This case has been brought because there were lies about me and my family and they would not stop.”

Her testimony concludes and the court goes on its afternoon break.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 19:49 , Oliver O'Connell

Cross-examination by Attorney Pattis is underway.

Ms Lafferty testifies that her mother’s death shaped her views on gun control and she now works for Everytown for Gun Safety, an anti-gun violence group.

Following a slew of questions relating to whether Jones had ever mentioned her name and how many people are suing Jones, there is a sidebar after successful objections from plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 19:43 , Oliver O'Connell

There are confrontations in person too. At a gas station, someone once pointed at her and said “you’re part of that Sandy Hook hoax.”

A similar encounter happened at a grocery store. She has moved six times so that people would not know who she was. She also travels under an assumed name and when she uses a rideshare service.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Lafferty had a Facebook page for a scholarship fund in memory of her mother, but she had to shut it down because people kept commenting that Sandy Hook never happened, her mom was not real, and accused her of scamming people.

She tried to confront people online, but there were so many of them and she couldn’t stop the harassment.

Wednesday 21 September 2022 19:38 , Oliver O'Connell

Ms Lafferty is questioned as to how she came to know about the conspiracy theories regarding the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

She says that within weeks of the shooting she would be tagged on social media to posts claiming it was all a conspiracy.

Later things got worse and things would be mailed to her house and there were threats of rape. When she attempted to get help from the police, she was told the threats were not specific enough to be tracked, or the posts would be deleted.

At one point someone sent her an Infowars video which she later learned was of Alex Jones.

There was also mail from a bogus address in California referencing AR-15 with “fifteen” misspelled.

She recalls that the letters said: “I should die and be buried next to my fake dead mother,” Ms Lafferty says, adding dryly: “However that’s possible.”