Alex Jones trial - live: Infowars host expected to testify on Sandy Hook hoax after setback in bankruptcy case

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The second defamation trial of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is underway in Connecticut as he faces the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that he claimed was a hoax in broadcasts to his millions of viewers.

Jones appeared outside the courthouse on Tuesday morning and in brief statements to reporters called Judge Barbara Bellis “a tyrant”.

Last week the court heard three days of testimony from Brittany Paz, an appointed representative of Infowars, Jones’s media company, about its operations — although much of her testimony was evasive. The jury was shown how Jones’s audience grew exponentially following the tragedy and company revenues increased dramatically.

Multiple videos have been shown of Jones’s egregious claims about the shooting, including when he mocked the parents of victims as “crisis actors” and displayed completely false information about the events of the day.

Last month he was ordered to pay nearly $50m to the parents of one of the slain children by a Texas jury following a similar lawsuit. Now, jurors will decide how much he should pay relatives of eight victims and the FBI agent who responded to the scene of the 2012 massacre.

Key Points

Sandy Hook families warn ‘bully’ Alex Jones will ‘never stop’ unless held to account

14:40 , Oliver O'Connell

A lawyer representing eight families who lost family members in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre tore into Infowars founder Alex Jones as the second damages trial against him began in Connecticut.

“Unless you stand up to bullies, a bully will never stop,” Chris Mattei said during opening statements last week.

Sandy Hook families blast ‘bully’ Alex Jones as damages trial begins

Alex Jones suffers blow in Infowars bankruptcy case

14:21 , Oliver O'Connell

The parent company of Alex Jones’ Infowars suffered a substantial blow in bankruptcy court as a judge blocked an attorney and a restructuring executive from overseeing the case due to “lack of transparency” on financial information, including about the conspiracy theorist’s extravagant spending habits.

US Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez in Houston ordered new personnel to replace Marc Schwartz, chief restructuring officer of Infowars parent company Free Speech Systems LLC, and attorney Kyung Lee in the case on Tuesday, citing conflict of interest.

Megan Sheets has the details.

Alex Jones suffers blow in Infowars bankruptcy case amid Sandy Hook trial

Alex Jones makes appearance outside Sandy Hook trial

13:45 , Oliver O'Connell

A defiant Alex Jones showed up at a Connecticut courthouse Tuesday, declaring his innocence despite already being found liable for spreading the lie that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax.

A jury has been hearing evidence for a week to determine how much Jones must pay the families of eight victims and an FBI agent who was among the first to respond to the shooting that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators.

Jones spent just a few minutes at the courthouse, arriving at about 9.30am, accompanied by one of his attorneys and repeating declarations he made last week on his Infowars web show that the proceeding is nothing more than a “show trial.”

Alex Jones makes 1st appearance outside Sandy Hook trial

Sister of Sandy Hook teacher says family ‘feared for lives’ after hoax claims

13:00 , Oliver O'Connell

The sister of a teacher who died during the Sandy Hook massacre broke down in tears as she testified that her family “feared for our lives” after Alex Jones branded the shooting a hoax.

Carlee Soto-Parisi told the court that her family was threatened and harassed as Jones made wild allegations about false-flag operations and paid crisis actors in the wake of the 2012 elementary school shooting.

Ms Soto-Parisi’s 27-year-old sister, Vicki Soto, was murdered by gunman Adam Lanza when he attacked the school, killing 26 children and teachers.

Graeme Massie reports.

Sister of Sandy Hook teacher says family ‘feared for lives’ after Alex Jones claims

Alex Jones accused of hiding millions to avoid Sandy Hook payout

12:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones has been accused of hiding millions of dollars in an attempt to avoid paying damages to the families of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre who were terrorised for years because of his lies.

The families of nine victims killed in the 2012 mass shooting filed new court documents on Thursday alleging that the far-right conspiracy theorist “systematically transferred millions of dollars” to himself, his relatives and companies that he owns – all the while claiming he was bankrupt and unable to pay his debts.

In the filing, the families say Mr Jones claimed that his company Free Speech Systems – the parent company of his conspiracy theorist website and radio show Infowars – owes an “enormous debt” of more than $50m to a company called PQPR Holdings.

Rachel Sharp reports.

Alex Jones accused of hiding millions of dollars to avoid paying Sandy Hook families

Alex Jones claims ‘Deep State’ will stage mass shootings to steal midterms

11:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has absurdly warned that leftist “Deep State” globalists are plotting to stage false flag violent events to win the midterm elections for Democrats - just weeks after he publicly admitted to making false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre being a hoax.

Speaking on his Infowars show, Mr Jones asserted that the “Deep State” would blame staged violence on far-right groups in an effort to take over the country in the run-up to the midterm elections.

Alex Jones absurdly claims ‘Deep State’ will stage mass shootings to steal midterms

ICYMI: Alex Jones calls Sandy Hook parents ‘crisis actors’ in video shown to jury

10:30 , Oliver O'Connell

The jury in the second defamation trial of Alex Jones has been shown a video of the Infowars host mocking the parents of Sandy Hook victims.

Footage shows the conspiracy theorist referring to parents as “crisis actors” and accusing them of “method acting”.

“It’s just the fakest thing since the $3 bill,” Jones says.

During the trial, the jury was also shown how Infowars’ audience - and company revenues - grew exponentially following the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Alex Jones mocks Sandy Hook parents and calls them ‘actors’ in video shown to jury

NBA star Kyrie Irving shares clip of Alex Jones ranting about the New World Order

09:30 , Oliver O'Connell

As conspiracy theorist talk show host Alex Jones stews in legal trouble over his claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, he can take some comfort in knowing he’s got a superstar fan playing in the NBA.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving shared a clip of Jones ranting about the “New World Order” to his Instagram page, along with the words “Alex Jones tried to warn us.”

Graig Graziosi reports.

Kyrie Irving shares clip of Alex Jones New World Order rant on Instagram

‘There were false statements’ on Sandy Hook says Infowars lawyer

08:30 , Oliver O'Connell

A lawyer for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones‘ Infowars empire acknowledged on the witness stand Wednesday that the show and website spread falsehoods about the Sandy Hook school shooting.

“I don’t think that we disagree that there were false statements made,” Brittany Paz testified at a civil trial involving Jones’ claims that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax concocted as a pretext to tighten gun regulations.

Asked whether an Infowars headline that suggested the massacre was a “false flag” operation was itself untrue, Paz said she didn’t disagree it was false.

Infowars lawyer: 'There were false statements' on Sandy Hook

Alex Jones’s audience grew exponentially after Sandy Hook massacre, says rep

07:00 , Oliver O'Connell

A representative for Free Speech Systems, the parent company of InfoWars, told a courtroom that Alex Jones’s audience grew “exponentially” after the Sandy Hook massacre.

The right-wing conspiracy theorist is facing trial in his second defamation case brought by the family of a victim for his claims that the elementary school shooting was a “hoax.”

Brittany Paz testified that the growth seen since 2012 has led to “billions” of social media impressions, coinciding with the date of the shooting.

InfoWars rep says Alex Jones’s audience grew exponentially after Sandy Hook massacre

Alex Jones claims his book sold more copies than Harry Potter

05:30 , Oliver O'Connell

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has claimed that his latest book has sold more copies than any title in the Harry Potter franchise.

The Infowars founder made unverified claims on the Louder with Crowder show, saying that his book, The Great Reset, had climbed up the charts.

“So it is the number one book, not just fiction, not just non-fiction — all of them. More than any textbook, more than any Harry Potter book,” Jones said.

The Harry Potter series has sold over 500m copies worldwide.

Alex Jones claims his book has sold more copies than 'any Harry Potter'

Bitcoin donations to Infowars go to Alex Jones, court hears

04:00 , Oliver O'Connell

On day two day of the second Sandy Hook defamation trial against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, a corporate representative for his company testified that cryptocurrency donations solicited during his show go directly to Mr Jones personally.

Bitcoin donations to Infowars go to Alex Jones, company rep testifies

ICYMI: Alex Jones lawyer appears to tweet and fall asleep during Connecticut trial

03:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones’s lawyer appeared to tweet and fall asleep this week during the right-wing conspiracy broadcaster’s ongoing damages trial in Connecticut.

Alex Jones lawyer appears to tweet and fall asleep during Connecticut trial

Witness questioned about Alex Jones criticism of Sandy Hook trial

02:00 , Oliver O'Connell

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is on trial in Connecticut for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre a hoax, continued Friday to describe the proceedings as a “kangaroo court” from his Infowars studio in Texas.

Jones’ commentary became a focus of testimony on the fourth day of the trial, with a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families questioning a corporate representative for Jones’ Infowars brand about how seriously the company was taking the trial.

The lawyer, Christopher Mattei, showed the jury a photo he said was of an Infowars webpage, depicting the judge in the trial with lasers shooting out of her eyes.

Witness questioned about Jones criticism of Sandy Hook trial

Infowars sales spiked when Alex Jones talked about Sandy Hook

Wednesday 21 September 2022 00:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Infowars’ revenues and website viewership spiked as Alex Jones alleged on his show in 2014 that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, according to documents shown to a jury Thursday.

Infowars sales spiked as Alex Jones talked about Sandy Hook

Today not first time Jones has mocked judge

Tuesday 20 September 2022 23:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones has mocked the judge in his latest Sandy Hook defamation case and branded the trial a “kangaroo court” on his Infowars show this week, according to damning evidence.

The far-right conspiracy theorist’s lies are back on display once again this week as his second defamation trial finally began in Connecticut on Tuesday.

Mr Jones was successfully sued by the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting after he spread lies that the massacre was a “hoax” and that the young victims were “actors”.

Rachel Sharp has the story.

Alex Jones mocked Sandy Hook judge and branded trial a ‘kangaroo court’, jurors hear

Alex Jones calls Sandy Hook trial judge a ‘tyrant’

Tuesday 20 September 2022 22:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones launched into a furious rant as his Sandy Hook damages case resumed, calling the judge a “tyrant” and insisting he didn’t broadcast lies about the mass shooting “on purpose”.

The Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist is on trial in Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting claimed the lives of 26 people – mostly young children – on 14 December 2012.

Mr Jones lost a number of defamation cases by default after he was sued by families of victims over his false claims that the massacre was a hoax perpetrated to institute stricter gun control laws.

Gustaf Kilander reports.

Alex Jones calls judge a ‘tyrant’ as Sandy Hook trial resumes

Tuesday 20 September 2022 21:54 , Oliver O'Connell

Court resumes tomorrow at 10am.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 21:27 , Oliver O'Connell

Questioning is jumping around from discussions on memes, to George Orwell’s 1984, the Obama campaign, and the success of Isis’s social media campaign.

The court is shown the same clip of Jones again from the day of the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012.

Mr Pattis asks whether Jones is appealing to fear in the clip, or if people already are fearful. “People can be scared,” Mr Watts says.

“Legitimately so,” Mr Pattis says before comparing Jones saying “they are coming” to Paul Revere saying “the British are coming”.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 21:14 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Pattis begins his cross-examination of Mr Watts.

He begins by asking if Alex Jones is a domestic enemy. Mr Watts says no.

Mr Pattis reviews Mr Watts’ credentials, experience, writing, and media appearances. On the subject of his Wikipedia page, it transpires that it has been edited on several occasions by people with IP addresses traced back to Russia.

Oh the bots are after you? Mr Pattis asks. I dunno, are they? Mr Watts responds.

He asks Mr Watts what he understands by the term “deep state”, he replies that it is a derogatory term implying that there is a group controlling the government.

It is not clear where this line of questioning is leading.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 20:47 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Watts said he could do a “bare minimum reach” analysis by recreating missing data using the Way Back Machine, Infowars’ website, and Sprout Social — which tracks how content sperad and grew on various social platforms.

He says the main Infowars website gets a lot of traffic from visitors who go directly there rather than arriving there via social media, which explains why Jones wasn’t as impacted as some believed (and he had claimed) after he was deplatformed from social media platforms in 2018.

Using the Wayback Machine and Google Analytics, Mr Watts assembled a snapshot of how many times Infowars’ Sandy Hook content was viewed and discussed between 2012 and 2018.

Mr Watts said the minimum estimate for how many views Infowars’ bogus Sandy Hook content got via social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) in that period was 550 million.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 20:28 , Oliver O'Connell

Court resumes and Mr Watts is asked to give an overall estimate of Jones’ online reach.

Mr Watts replies that he was missing parts of the data relating to Facebook impressions among other things.

Of the data that was available, he was able to trace the partial spread of Sandy Hook lies spreading out from Infowars on social media sites.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 20:01 , Oliver O'Connell

The company’s organisational chart is brought back up to try and show that Infowars is actually an organised, well-run place that was able to track sales and traffic and effectively drive them with content that excites the audience.

As Jones’s father David notes, to “emulate spikes” in traffic.

Court is now on a 15-minute break.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 19:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Reviewing some of Jones’s video content from Infowars, Mr Watts notes it is “highly effective in terms of content production” and the use of war imagery and words is “incitement”.

We are now doing another deep dive into analytics relating to the Infowars website. Much of this audience and sales data was shown in last week’s testimony.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 19:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Court resumes and the jury return.

Disinformation expert witness Clint Watts continues his testimony with the plaintiffs’ attorney Josh Koskoff continuing direct examination.

Watch: Alex Jones’ audience increased 50 per cent in 2013

Tuesday 20 September 2022 18:25 , Oliver O'Connell

Tuesday 20 September 2022 18:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Plaintiffs’ lawyer compares the audience numbers for other rightwing news and opinion sites and personalities, including Newsmax, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, which attract similarly-sized audiences as Infowars.

He asks Mr Watts if any of them questioned the events of Sandy Hook within three hours of the tragedy. Mr Watts says no, to the best of his knowledge they did not.

Court breaks for lunch.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:48 , Oliver O'Connell

The jury is brought back into the room and a clip of Alex Jones’ show from the day of the Sandy Hook shooting is shown.

Mr Watts is asked to analyse the video and says that Jones deploys several methods when getting his message across: a fear of disarming Americans of their guns, the demonisation of a specific group (using “they” and “us” rhetoric), and stoking anger by saying there is a plot. He is building a community around this false narrative with the audience.

He then tries to sell magazine subscriptions to this community.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:34 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Watts is shown Google Analytics data for to demonstrate the size of Alex Jones’s audience.

He describes the audience of approximately 49 million as “extremely large, compared to other organisations or entities I’ve looked at” and “massive”.

By December 2012, when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred, Infowars’ audience metrics had increased by 50 per cent.

A brief break is called for to discuss a video that the plaintiffs’ lawyers would like to play and the jury is taken out of the room.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:13 , Oliver O'Connell

He goes on to explain how our online experience moved from a pull concept in the first decade of the internet — we had to go and look for content — to a push model with the onset of social media in the second decade of the internet.

In this second iteration of the internet, content creation becomes exponential as users can spread and clip content to share it with other users and further spread a message.

As an audience changes beliefs to the messenger’s narrative or point of view by consuming more and more of their content, the more likely they are to take action in the real world.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Watts says there are three factors for how prolific an actor can be in disseminating a message:

- Volume (of the content creator)

- Reach (how many people saw it)

- Time (repeating a message over time can change audience perception which makes people more likely to purchase a product)

Tuesday 20 September 2022 17:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Watts also talks about the importance of video and graphics, saying it is key to making these pitches, because it’s an “immersive experience,” and can be manipulated to build anger and foster extremism.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 16:55 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Watts explains how he studies the dissemination of disinformation and its purpose, describing it in terms of the four Ms — Message, Messenger, Medium, and Method.

He gives examples from the war in Ukraine in which messages were used to stir up emotion in Russia by calling Ukrainians Nazis.

This is then connected with the ability to sell products to people.

Watch: Alex Jones call judge a ‘tyrant'

Tuesday 20 September 2022 16:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Tuesday 20 September 2022 16:24 , Oliver O'Connell

After an extensive look at Mr Watts’ professional life, including his experience being at the forefront of connecting disinformation to terrorism, Judge Bellis calls for the mid-morning break.

Witness: Clinton Watts

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:58 , Oliver O'Connell

The next witness is Clinton Watts, an expert witness on the topic of social media, disinformation, and fake news.

He attended Westpoint and was an officer in the US Army before becoming a special agent in the FBI after qualifying at the agency’s training facility at Quantico.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:52 , Oliver O'Connell

Mr Pattis is now questioning Ms Paz again. She said Jones is “focused on being on air” and doesn’t take an active management role in the company.

Ms Paz’s testimony finally ends after more than three days.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:50 , Oliver O'Connell

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Chris Mattei goes deep into detail about the Infowars organisational structure and that Ms Paz was not given all of the information she should have been to act as the company representative — including the organisational chart that was revealed at the close of last week’s testimony.

Watch: Jones speaks to reporters outside of court

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:44 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones spoke to reporters outside of the courthouse in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:24 , Oliver O'Connell

Brittany Paz, the lawyer appointed as representative of Infowars/Free Speech Systems, is back on the stand, beginning her fourth day of questioning.

Questioning begins on the matter of an organisational chart of the company and various emails regarding the company’s use of Google Analytics.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:21 , Oliver O'Connell

Judge Bellis hears an argument from the plaintiffs’ attorney Alinor Sterling motioning to enforce a limit on questioning her clients’ “supposed political motives” — that this was part of a political vendetta against Jones.

“The arguments regarding the plaintiffs’ supposed political biases are clickbait for Infowars,” says Ms Sterling, adding that the lawsuit is being used to harass the plaintiffs.

Judge Bellis is going to let Jones’s lawyer Norm Pattis cross-examine witnesses on the subject of “exaggerating” their injury for political gain or as part of an anti-gun agenda.

Jones addresses press again before driving off

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones addresses the press again, saying: “I don’t want to be the Sandy Hook man. It was a small part of what we said and did.”

He admits he “followed 4chan,” other stuff that “turned out to be wrong,” but names the Jussie Smollett case and Iraq WMDs as other stuff he thought was fake.

Jones claims the trial is “all a larger plan” to shut down the free press, and that the lawyers are going to use this model against other people.

Returning to the events at Sandy Hook in 2012, he says “nobody knows” the shooter Adam Lanza’s name, adding: “I am not Adam Lanza. I did not kill the children.”

“They really want to take me out because I’ve been exposing the Great Reset,” says Jones.

Asked if this is a kangaroo court, he responds: “Buddy, it’s all kangaroos and railroads, you’re damn right.”

Alex Jones calls judge a ‘tyrant’ as Sandy Hook trial resumes

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:10 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones has called the judge in his Sandy Hook damages case “a tyrant” and claimed that he “was not wrong” about the mass shooting “on purpose”.

The Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist is on trial in Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting took place on 14 December 2012.

Gustaf Kilander reports.

Alex Jones calls judge a ‘tyrant’ as Sandy Hook trial resumes

Jones makes appearance at courthouse

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:07 , Oliver O'Connell

Alex Jones appears outside the courthouse and grandstands to the cameras that “the judiciary has been weaponised” comparing the trial to something out of South Africa or Communist China.

He describes that situation as “a travesty of justice” and called the judge a “tyrant”.

Tuesday 20 September 2022 15:01 , Oliver O'Connell

Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of Alex Jones’ second defamation trial over his false claims that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.

Mr Jones appeared twice outside of the court this morning and gave short statements to the waiting press.

He is expected to testify at some point this week.

Judge Barbara Bellis is currently calling court to order.