Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Cyber Monday Extended SALE: Up to 60% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

Alex Jones' lies about Sandy Hook driven by profits, victims' lawyer says at trial

Stock Markets Sep 14, 2022 04:47AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Alex Jones talks to media during a midday break during the start of a jury trial that will decide how much he must pay the family of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre that he falsely claimed was a hoax, at the Travis County Courth

By Jack Queen

WATERBURY, Conn. (Reuters) -A lawyer for families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting told a Connecticut jury on Tuesday that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones would never stop profiting from destructive falsehoods unless he pays for his lies about the massacre.

The lawyer, Christopher Mattei, made his assessment during opening statements on Tuesday, nearly a decade after 20 children and six staff members were killed on Dec. 14, 2012, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

In Jones' second trial related to the massacre, jurors will decide how much in damages he owes 13 family members of victims as well as one FBI agent for claiming the massacre was a hoax.

Jones' trial in a Waterbury, Connecticut state court, about 20 miles (32 km) from Newtown, comes one month after a jury in Austin, Texas awarded two parents $49.3 million in a similar case.

Mattei told jurors it was important to stop Jones and his right-wing Infowars brand from "preying on people who are helpless" and encouraging years of harassment from Jones' followers.

"They knew the harassment was happening, but the lies were too profitable," Mattei said.

He said Infowars, which is based in Austin, drew millions of followers with bogus claims about Sandy Hook, and made as much as $800,000 a day selling supplements, doomsday supplies and other products.

Jones' lawyer Norman Pattis countered during his opening statement that the families were "exaggerating their harm for political reasons" and viewing a big damages award as a "weapon" to silence Infowars.

"We're going to ask you to disarm them," Pattis told jurors.

Jones did not attend the start of the trial, which is expected to last five weeks, but Pattis said he will testify.

The plaintiffs sued Jones and Infowars parent Free Speech Systems LLC in 2018.

They said the harassment was conducted by people who believed Jones' false claims that the government staged the Sandy Hook shooting with crisis actors as a pretext for seizing guns, and that the families faked their children's deaths.

Jones has since acknowledged that the shooting took place.

OVERWHELMED

Some families in the gallery clasped each others' hands tightly and fought back tears as the first plaintiff to testify, FBI agent Bill Aldenberg, described the shooting scene and death threats that families received as they prepared for burials.

"It overwhelms your senses. It's horrible," he said.

Another plaintiff, Carlee Soto Parisi, tearfully described her sister's death at Sandy Hook and the subsequent deluge of social media posts saying that she was a crisis actor.

"It's hurtful, it's devastating, it's crippling. You can't breathe properly," she said.

Adam Lanza, the gunman, used a Remington Bushmaster rifle as he shot his way into the school, after shooting his mother to death at home. The massacre ended when Lanza killed himself as he heard approaching police sirens.

Jurors are required solely to determine how much Jones and Free Speech Systems must pay for spreading lies about the massacre.

A judge issued a default judgment in the case in November after Jones failed to comply with court orders.

Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy in July. That would typically shield the company from lawsuits, but it agreed to face trial in August.

In a Tuesday hearing in the bankruptcy case, a judge rejected Free Speech Systems' request to reimburse Jones for travel expenses and security detail.

The $49.3 million award in Austin could be reduced substantially because it consists mostly of non-economic damages intended to punish Jones for his conduct.

A lawyer for Jones has said he will seek to reduce the $45.2 million punitive damages component to $1.5 million, citing a Texas law imposing a cap. Lawyers for the parents have said that the cap does not apply and Jones should pay the full amount.

Alex Jones' lies about Sandy Hook driven by profits, victims' lawyer says at trial
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (2)
Din Joekhannaz
Din Joekhannaz Sep 14, 2022 3:18AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
we need him as a check n balanced against the establishment. So leave him alone
Adrian White
Adrian White Sep 14, 2022 3:18AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Intentionally telling lies and spreading disinformation, for profit, is not an example of "checks and balances". The law suit against him is.
gab nea
gab nea Sep 13, 2022 7:10PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
another trump friend making money off the duped maga base, why no bannon did it! trump does it!
JIM VETTER
JIM VETTER Sep 13, 2022 7:10PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
How does making money spewing weird theories both anyone except those giving him the money? How does this directly affect those families? Both sides are money-grabbers
JIM VETTER
JIM VETTER Sep 13, 2022 7:10PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
* hurt, not both.
Adrian White
Adrian White Sep 13, 2022 7:10PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Jim, if you really have to ask that question, then you haven't seen or heard the experiences of the parents who brought the law suit forward. Not to mention that intentionally spreading lies is harmful to society in general, and erodes trust in institutions.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email