Infowars host Alex Jones was forced to answer for his years of spreading conspiracy theories as he took the stand this week in a defamation damages trial brought against him by the parents of a 6-year-old child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. The jury spent less than a day deliberating the case, awarding more than $4 million dollars in compensatory damages. Tomorrow the trial will continue to the punitive phase, with further awards possible.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Jones misled his audience of millions, telling them that the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre, which killed 20 children and six adult staff, was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the government to undermine gun ownership rights. For years, he claimed that “crisis actors” staged the attack. In 2018, multiple families of Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent who responded to the scene of the crime brought defamation charges against Jones and Infowars, alleging that his lies made them the target of harassment and violent threats.
On Oct. 1, 2021, a Texas judge found Jones liable for damages in three of these defamation lawsuits by default, after the Infowars host failed to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. The trial to determine damages in the first of these lawsuits that he lost, brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of victim Jesse Lewis, began July 26. They are seeking $150 million. Lewis directly addressed Jones in court before the conspiracy theorist took the stand.
In his testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday, a visibly uncomfortable and sweating Jones was repeatedly admonished by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble and brutally cross-examined by the parents’ lawyer, Mark Bankston. The Infowars host was confronted not just with his past statements about the Sandy Hook shootings, but also with remarks that he’d made about the judge, jury, and trial on his show earlier in the week.
Livestream clips from the trial have been viewed millions of times on social media. Here are some of the most-shared moments.
When the judge told him to stop lying under oath, saying he’s lied twice already:
After the direct-examination of #AlexJones on Tuesday, Judge Maya Gamble reprimanded Jones for what he said during his testimony. "You MUST tell the truth while you testify. This is NOT your show," the judge said.
Judge Gamble sent the jury out of the room at one point on Tuesday in order to reprimand Jones for telling the court that he and his lawyers had provided pretrial information to the plaintiffs (he didn’t; that’s why he lost in a default judgment). She also scolded him for claiming to be bankrupt (he is not; Infowars has filed for bankruptcy). “It seems absurd to tell you again that you must tell the truth while you testify, but here I am again,” she said. “This is not your show.”
When he tried to sell the jurors some of his Infowars supplements:
Alex Jones decides to try and sell the Sandy Hook jurors some of his supplements.
I mean, there’s really no explanation for this one.
When the family’s attorney revealed that Jones’s lawyers accidentally sent him a digital copy of Jones’s phone:
Attorney Mark Bankston told #AlexJones that his attorney messed up and sent him Jones' entire cell phone history. "Did you know that your lawyers messed up and sent me your entire cell phone texting history 12 days ago?" Bankston asked. "You know what perjury is right?"
During his cross-examination, Bankston told Jones that his attorneys had accidentally sent him the contents of Jones’s cellphone, which revealed previously undisclosed texts about the shooting as well as financial information about Infowars. Bankston noted that these texts contradicted Jones’s previous testimony under oath that he had searched the phone for text messages about Sandy Hook and had been unable to find them.
When the judge had to explain what hearsay is:
WATCH: #AlexJones shakes his head at the judge and looks confused when she explains hearsay to him. @LawCrimeNetwork
“Things that you have read are also hearsay because you didn’t say them, somebody else said them,” Gamble said. “Do not tell the jury anything that came from someone else.”
When he finally admitted that the Sandy Hook shooting was 100% real:
Alex Jones now admits Sandy Hook was “100% real”, but then plays the victim.
Jones agreed when asked if he understood that it was “absolutely irresponsible” for him to push the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shootings were staged. “It was. Especially since I've met the parents. It's 100% real," he said. He then complained that the media “won't let me take it back. They just want to keep me in the position of being the Sandy Hook man."
When the family's lawyer pointed out that Jones was only coughing in court, not on his show:
Cross-exam - You've been on your show pretty much every day last week, right? You've been screaming and yelling on your show. But you weren't coughing on air, were you?#AlexJones
Jones, who claimed in court that he has laryngitis and a torn larynx, said he has a “cough button” he can step on during his show that mutes his cough.
When he had to clarify that he doesn’t think the members of the jury are false flag operatives:
Judge: Are you aware that this jury consists of...fair-minded citizens?"Alex Jones: "I don't think that you are operatives."Judge: "Do you feel you're getting a fair trial?"Jones: "I have been found guilty by a judge, and I thought in America you're found guilty by juries."
I wonder how often judges have to ask someone on the witness stand to confirm that a jury “consists of 16 intelligent fair-minded citizens who are not being improperly influenced in any way.”
When the judge told him to stop chewing gum and he said he was “massaging” the hole in his mouth where he had a tooth pulled:
WATCH: "Spit your gum out Mr. Jones," Judge tells #AlexJones. He proceeds to tell her he had a tooth pulled and he was "massaging the hole with his tongue", then wants to show the judge. Judge, "Sit down".
Gamble had to repeatedly tell Jones that she did not want to see the inside of his mouth.
When Alex Jones was confronted with things that have been said about the judge in recent Infowars shows:
Sandy Hook attorney: Did you call the judge of this case a pedophile on your Infowars show?Alex Jones: No. Of course not.Attorney: Roll the tape.Alex: Yeah, but...what I really meant was...
There’s a whole lot going on here.
When Jones denied to the family’s lawyer that he and his company “want the world to believe” that his trial is rigged and the judge is following a script…only to be shown a recent Infowars clip of a host saying just that:
Alex Jones is being Cross-Examined. They are impeaching him on things the company said. Here is a clip.
That’s slightly awkward.
When Scarlett Lewis, mother of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis, asked Jones if he thought she was an actor during her testimony:
Powerful moment from the Alex Jones trial: Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, asks the conspiracy theorist if he thinks she's an actor. Jones tells her, "No." (And gets yelled at by the judge for talking.)
Jones replied that he didn’t (which he technically was not allowed to do).
When, in the most powerful moment of the trial, Lewis spoke to Jones directly:
‘My son existed’ — Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, confronted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in court about the lies he spread around the massacre