A Connecticut jury started listening to arguments Tuesday within the trial of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to resolve how a lot cash he ought to pay the households of eight Sandy Hook taking pictures victims and an FBI agent who responded to the December 2012 assault.
It’s the second trial for Jones, who was ordered by a Texas jury final month to pay practically $50 million in compensatory damages to the dad and mom of one of many slain youngsters for the struggling attributable to his lies concerning the bloodbath. Jones was not within the courtroom Tuesday.
The trial — stemming from a civil case Jones misplaced by default final yr — is being held in Waterbury, Connecticut, about 20 miles from the assault by which a gunman killed 20 first graders and 6 educators.
Jones was discovered liable by Decide Barbara Bellis with no trial final yr after he failed to show over paperwork to attorneys for the households.
Earlier than opening statements started, Bellis sanctioned Jones’ authorized group for what she described as their “stunningly cavalier angle” towards turning over proof. Bellis stated they “persistently engaged in dilatory and obstructive discovery practices.” Jones’ attorneys didn’t flip over information of his Infowars web site’s site visitors.
Bellis informed jurors that Jones has already been discovered accountable for damages to the plaintiffs for repeatedly saying the taking pictures was a hoax on a number of platforms and claiming that nobody had died within the taking pictures. Bellis defined to the six-member jury that their activity is to resolve how a lot Jones should pay the plaintiffs for defaming them.
Throughout opening statements, Christopher Mattei, an legal professional for the households, informed jurors of Jones’ enterprise mannequin, saying he profited off of spreading “concern and nervousness and paranoia in his viewers.” Mattei confirmed slides of Infowars site visitors information, together with one which confirmed that in December 2012, the month of the Sandy Hook taking pictures, the location attracted greater than 4.6 million customers and upward of 24.9 million web page views. For years, Mattei informed jurors, Jones has promoted lies on his on-line and radio reveals, saying that the Sandy Hook bloodbath was staged by disaster actors for the federal authorities as a pretext to remove folks’s weapons.
The households of the victims and William Aldenberg, an FBI agent who responded to the Sandy Hook taking pictures, have stated they’ve been harassed by individuals who imagine Jones’ lies. Some have stated they’ve endured loss of life threats.
Norm Pattis, an legal professional for Jones, informed jurors throughout his opening assertion that his consumer was being scapegoated and handled as a “whipping boy.”
“The haters need him silenced,” Pattis stated. “They hate him as a result of he says outrageous issues.”
Pattis accused the plaintiffs of “overstating the hurt” that Jones triggered them, politicizing the proceedings, and stated that the damages claims are exaggerated.
Aldenberg was the primary witness to take the stand. He wept as he walked the jurors via what he noticed and heard Dec. 14, 2012.