Jurors in Alex Jones’ Sandy Hook trial are told he considers it a ‘kangaroo court’
Norman Pattis, attorney for Alex Jones, in discussion with Brittany Paz, a Connecticut attorney hired by Jones to testify about the operations of his businesses, during the Alex Jones Sandy Hook libel damages lawsuit in Superior Court in Waterbury, Conn. on Friday, Sept. 1, 2019. 16, 2022. (H John Voorhees III/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)
Lawyers for the Sandy Hook families suing right-wing provocateur and broadcaster Alex Jones concluded four days of questioning of his corporate representative on Friday by showing jurors a screenshot of one of his shows this week, with a typically strident headline from Jones calling the trial a “kangaroo”. to research.”
The title of the show on the first day of court proceedings on Tuesday was titled: “Alex Jones Kangaroo Court Watch Day 1”. It was dominated by a close-up of Judge Barbara Bellis sitting on the bench and stamped with “contempt!” in large print.
“Has InfoWars called this trial a puppet court? Christopher Mattei, one of the family’s attorneys, asked, referring to the name of the show and Jones’ main website.
“I don’t know,” the rep replied. “I haven’t watched the show.”
Company representative Brittany Paz had been on the witness stand since Wednesday, battered by Mattei’s often sarcastic questions, as the families methodically used Jones’ company records to argue their case. They argue Jones spent years spreading furious denials of the school shootings — denials he knew were false and dangerous to families because it was a message that generated huge audiences and profits.
Twenty first graders and six educators died on December 14, 2012, when a mentally unstable 20-year-old forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown with an assault rifle and shot them . Relatives of nine of the victims, as well as a first responder, have filed a lawsuit and the trial which began Tuesday in Waterbury must determine what Jones and his wholly-owned company Free Speech Systems owe them in compensation.
Victims’ relatives say in their lawsuits they were stalked, threatened and harassed for years by members of Jones’ massive global audience, who believe his claims that the shootings are part of a staged hoax by evil globalists trying to ban privacy. possession of firearms. Jones’ claims were that the dead children and their families were actors hired to carry out the hoax.
The families hope to collect tens of millions in damages from Jones in lawsuits that accuse him of defamation, liability for emotional suffering and, significantly, violations of the state’s unfair trade practices law. . If the families can persuade the jury that Jones spread lies and fears for profit, they could find him liable under the Trade Practices Act, which does not limit damages.
In his opening argument to jurors on Tuesday, Mattei asked the jurors to return a verdict for the family that is “shuting down” Jones for good.
Last month, the parents of one of the murdered first-graders were awarded $4.1 million in compensatory damages and $45.2 million in punitive damages after suing in a Texas court. Jones’ lawyers in Texas said they would appeal and his Connecticut lawyer, Norm Pattis, said there would be a verdict from Waterbury.
The image of Bellis under the word contempt presented to the jury on Friday was the latest of dozens of business filings the families produced while Paz testified in an effort to persuade jurors that Jones despised the truth as much as his family d Texas-based shows and internet platforms have garnered huge profits.
Records show Jones operated more than a dozen conspiracy-driven websites, broadcast sites and social media outlets which he used to drive traffic to half a dozen retail sites. If Jones pontificated on his show about a globalist plot to create famine by cutting food supplies, he would post ads on related websites for survivalist food supplies, the records show.
On Friday, Mattei presented jurors with a late 2019 email to Jones from a business executive stating that his InfoWars broadcast and web co-op raised $205 million in sales revenue on the day of the trade. . Of that total, $110 million was gross revenue from survivalist food products, and of that, $70 million was “pure profit.”
Mattei presented an excerpt from a misleading 2017 InfoWars broadcast that ridiculed Neil Heslin, father of one of the murdered freshmen. Heslin told a traditional TV station in an interview that he was allowed to hold his son after the shooting and the child had a “bullet hole” in his head.
The InfoWars show said Heslin was lying, based on a statement by Connecticut Medical Examiner Dr. Wayne Carver that parents were initially not allowed access to their children’s bodies.
Paz, a Connecticut attorney who had no association with Jones or his companies until he hired her in January to testify as his company’s representative, admitted that Carver’s interview played by Infowars had been misleadingly edited to give the impression that parents were denied access to their children.
A month later, in another InfoWars video clip shown to jurors by Mattei, Jones announced on a broadcast that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza had been visited by the CIA at his mother’s house in Newtown a year earlier.
“Sandy Hook is as fake as a $3 bill,” Jones said.
During Paz’s brief questioning by Pattis on Friday, Paz said she was unable to answer many of Mattei’s questions because, as she prepared to testify, she was not given access to volumes of records or the ability to interview key employees. She said she was allowed to speak with Jones for about an hour in person and on the phone for another half hour.
She said neither interview was productive.
“It was hard to talk to him and get him to focus,” Paz said. “If I asked him a question, he would kind of go on about whatever he wanted to talk about. I was trying to redirect him to my question and he was kind of throwing his hands up and talking about whatever he wanted to talk about.
She said an accountant also served as personnel manager for Jones’ million-plus company, which she said lacked a consistent record-keeping system or even a phone system. enterprise-wide.
Pattis tried, but was not allowed by Bellis, to show through questioning and the introduction of corporate documents that Jones’ booming sales and internet popularity of his shows and products may have been attributed to praise the broadcaster received from former President Donald J.Trump.
One of the briefs Mattei presented to jurors, a solicitation Jones sent to potential advertisers, quoted Trump as saying in an interview, “I won’t let you down Alex.”
The trial in Waterbury Superior Court is solely up to the jury to determine the amount of Jones’ compensation. In an unusual default decision last year, Bellis settled the lawsuit in favor of the victims, saying Jones waived his right to defend himself from liability by violating his court orders and legal process by not participating in the disclosure. joint case and other pre-trial proceedings.