By Jim Vertono | concerned body
AUSTIN, Texas — The detective who led the investigation into the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting testified Tuesday that there are three types of people who deny it and harass victims’ families: the mentally ill, the People who believed bad or incomplete information. , and those who knew the truth but twisted it for their “power or money”.
Investigators put conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in this last group.
“They were the most dangerous. That’s where we put Alex Jones,” Connecticut State Police Detective Daniel Jeeves told the jury on the first day of testimony in a Texas trial to determine who hosted Infowars. How much Jones owes it to the parents of one of these children. Deadliest school shooting in US history.
“It’s absolutely terrible the trauma they’ve had to endure as a result of losing a loved one,” said Jew, who described the support of the Sandy Hook families as “the most honorable thing”.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting, are seeking $150 million for emotional distress and reputational damage Jones caused, plus more. punitive damages, his attorney Mark Bankston told the court during his opening statement that Jones sometimes saw him shaking his head.
Bankston said Jones repeatedly “lied and attacked the parents of the murdered children” when he told his Infowars audience that the shooting was a hoax. He created “a massive campaign of lies” and “recruited wild extremists from the fringes of the Internet … who were as brutal as Mr. Jones wanted them to be” for the families of the 20 first-graders and six teachers who were killed. were gone, the lawyer said.
Jones capitalized on the explosive popularity of Sandy Hook conspiracy stories that became an “obsession” for the website years after the shooting, said Bankston, who played video clips of Jones on his program and claimed it The shooting was a hoax and “the whole thing was completely fake. … It just didn’t happen.”
Anticipating that Jones’ lawyers would argue that what Jones said about Sandy Hook was speech protected by the First Amendment — Jones arrived at the courthouse wearing tape over his mouth that read “Save the 1st.” The message was hidden – Bankston told the jury, “This has nothing to do with the Constitution. Defamation is not protected by freedom of speech. … Speech is free, but lies cost you.”
During the defense’s opening remarks, Jones’ attorney Andy Rennell called Jones “one of the most polarizing figures in this nation,” adding that “we don’t dispute that Sandy Hook was wrong.” ” But he said Jones had already been punished for those statements when he was fired from Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and Twitter for violating hate speech policies.
Jones was “already overruled” and suffered millions of dollars in damages, Reynal said, asking the jury to limit damages to $1.
Rennell portrays a talk show host who “tries to give an alternative view” but is betrayed by some of his guests.
“Alex Jones was wrong to believe these people, but he didn’t do it anyway. He did it because he believed in it. … He believed that a citizen could get information and ask questions. have a right to talk about,” Rennell said.
He also described this case as important for freedom of expression.
“I believe in his right to say it, and I believe in the right of every American to say what he sees, hears, and believes,” Rennell said.
Between opening statements from both sides, Jones spoke to reporters outside the courtroom and called it a “kangaroo court” and a “show trial” that was an attack on the First Amendment. He did not return to the courtroom for the start of testimony in the afternoon, with Infowars producer Daria Karpova taking the stand.
Jones’ media company named Karpova to testify about the reach of the Infowars audience, and some of the video produced by the website after the Sandy Hook shooting. The trial adjourned for the rest of the day before he completed his planned testimony.
A jury could deal Jones a major financial blow that would put his conspiracy business in deep jeopardy. In addition to being banned from major social media platforms, he claims he owes millions of dollars — a claim the plaintiffs deny.
A Texas court and another in Connecticut found Jones liable for defamation for portraying the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax aimed at increasing gun control. In both states, judges issued default judgments against Jones without a trial because he failed to respond to court orders and turn over documents.
In all, the families of eight Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school are suing Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems.
Jones has since admitted that the shooting took place. During a statement in April, Jones insisted that he was not responsible for the suffering that Sandy Hook parents say they have endured as a result of the hoax conspiracy, including death threats and Jones’ followers. Harassment by
Jones claimed in court records last year that his net worth was $20 million, but lawyers for the Sandy Hook families paint a different financial picture.
Court records show Jones’ Infowars store, which sells nutritional supplements and survival gear, made more than $165 million between 2015 and 2018. Jones has also appealed to listeners on his Infowars program to donate money.
Tribal began Monday in Austin, Texas — where Jones lives and airs his show — after months of delays. It comes nearly two months after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, about 145 miles (235 km) southwest of Austin. It was the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook.