conspiracy theorytestified Wednesday that he now understands it was irresponsible of him to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax and that he now believes it was “100% real.”
Speaking a day after the parents of a 6-year-old boy who died in the 2012 attack testified about thehave endured because of what Jones has trumpeted on his media platforms, the Infowars host told a Texas court that he definitely believes the attack happened.
“Especially since I’ve met the parents. It’s 100% real,” Jones said at his trial to determine how much he and his media company, Free Speech Systems, owe for defaming Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis. His son Jesse Lewis was among 20 students and six educators killed in the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, which was the deadliest school shooting in US history.
But Heslin and Lewis said Tuesday that an apology would not be enough and that Jones should be held accountable for repeatedly spreading falsehoods about the attack. They are looking for at least $150 million.
Jones told the jury that any compensation above $2 million “will sink us,” but added: “I think it’s appropriate for whatever you decide to do.”
Testimony concluded around noon and closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday afternoon.
Jones is the only person to testify in his own defense. His lawyer asked him if he now understands that it was “absolutely irresponsible” to push the false claims that the massacre did not happen and no one was killed.
Jones said yes, but added, “They (the media) won’t let me take it back.”
He also complained that he has been “typecast as someone who is talking about Sandy Hook, makes money off Sandy Hook, is obsessed with Sandy Hook.”
Under a withering cross-examination by attorney Mark Bankston, Jones acknowledged his history of making conspiracy claims regarding other mass tragedies, from the Oklahoma City bombings and the Boston Marathon to mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.
Bankston then sought Jones’s credibility, showing an Infowars video clip from last week when a presenter, not Jones, claimed the trial was rigged and showed a photo of the judge on fire. Then came another clip of Jones asking if the jury was selected from a group of people “who don’t know what planet” they live on. Jones said he didn’t mean that part literally.
Bankston said Jones had failed to comply with court orders to provide text messages and emails for pretrial evidence gathering. Jones said, “I don’t use email,” then was shown one compiled from another source that came from his email address. He replied, “I must have dictated it.”
At one point, Bankston informed Jones that his attorneys had mistakenly sent Bankston the last two years of text messages from Jones’s cell phone.
The attorney also showed the court an email from an Infowars business official informing Jones that the company had made $800,000 gross from the sale of its products in a single day, which would amount to nearly $300 million in a year. Jones said that was the best day of sales for the company.
Jones’s testimony came a day after Heslin and Lewis told the Austin courtroom, where Jones and his companies are based, that Jones and the false false claims he and Infowars promoted turned their lives into aonline abuse and harassment.
They conducted a charged day of testimony Tuesday that included the judge berating the bombastic Jones for not being truthful about something he said under oath.
In a passionate exchange, Lewis spoke directly to Jones, who was sitting about 10 feet away. Earlier in the day, Jones was on the broadcast of him telling his audience that Heslin is “slow” and that he is being manipulated by bad people.
“I am a mother first and foremost and I know you are a father. My son existed,” Lewis told Jones. “I’m not a deep state…I know you know that…And yet you’re going to leave this courtroom and say it again on your show.”
At one point, Lewis asked Jones, “Do you think I’m an actor?”
“No, I don’t think you’re an actor,” Jones responded before the judge warned him to shut up until he was called to testify.
Heslin and Lewis are among several Sandy Hook families who have filed lawsuits alleging that false Sandy Hook claims pushed by Jones have led to years of abuse by him and his supporters.
“What was said about me and Sandy Hook resonates around the world,” Heslin said. “As time went on, I really realized how dangerous it was.”
Jones skipped Heslin’s testimony Tuesday morning while on her show, a move Heslin dismissed as “cowardly,” but made it to the courtroom for some of Scarlett Lewis’s testimony. He was accompanied by several private security guards.
“Today is very important to me and it’s been a long time … to face Alex Jones for what he said to me and what he did to me. To restore my son’s honor and legacy,” Heslin said when Jones was not there.
Heslin told the jury that she held her son with a bullet hole in the head, and even described the extent of the damage to her son’s body. A key segment of the case is an Infowars broadcast from 2017 that said Heslin did not hold her child.
In 2017, Heslin appeared on television, telling CBS News, to address Sandy Hook deniers directly. “I lost my son. I buried my son. I held my son with a bullet hole in his head,” she said.
After which, the bullying only got worse, Heslin said.
“I have received many death threats,”. “People say, ‘You guys should be the ones with the bullet hole in your head.'”
The jury was shown a school photo of a smiling Jesse taken two weeks before he was killed. The parents did not receive the photo until after the shooting. They described how Jesse was known for telling his classmates to “run!” that probably saved lives.
Jones later took the stand Tuesday and was initially combative with the judge, who had asked him to answer his own attorney’s question. Jones testified that he had long wanted to apologize to the plaintiffs.
The judge later sent the jury out of the courtroom and sharply reprimanded Jones for telling the jury that he had complied with pretrial evidence gathering even though he didn’t and that he is bankrupt, which has not been reported. certain. Plaintiffs’ attorneys were furious at Jones’s mention that he is bankrupt, so they are concerned he would affect jury decisions on damages.
“This is not your show,” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble told Jones. “Your beliefs do not make something true. You are under oath.”
Last September, the judge admonished Jones in her default judgment for failing to provide the documents requested by the Sandy Hook families. A Connecticut court entered a similar default judgment against Jones for the same reasons in a separate lawsuit brought by other Sandy Hook parents.
What is at stake in the trial is how much Jones will pay. The parents have asked the jury to award $150 million in damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Next, the jury will consider whether Jones and his company will pay punitive damages.
Jones has already tried to financially protect Free Speech Systems. The company filed for federal bankruptcy protection last week. The Sandy Hook families have separately sued Jones over his financial claims, arguing that the company is trying to protect millions owned by Jones and his family through shell entities.