Written by JIM VERTUNO and MICHAEL TARM
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones could, as usual, ruin his personal fortune and media empire in the first of several trials against him. I banged on that. .
For Jones, who has a gravelly voice and barrel chest, it’s always been. However, by court standards, his erratic and sometimes disrespectful behavior is unusual and could complicate legal proceedings.
Jones and his media company, Free Speech Systems, Thursday paid $4.11 million to the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, who was killed along with 19 other first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. ordered to pay damages. Mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. And more could be on the way.
The $4 million-plus amount was well short of the $150 million in damages sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, but the jury will meet again on Friday to award punitive damages. Before making a decision, I asked about Jones’ financial situation.
Jones faces two more Sandy Hook trials to determine damages later this year.
Heslin and Lewis argue that Jones’ constant false allegations that the shooting was a hoax or a hoax have led the past decade to death threats, online abuse, and the unrelenting trauma inflicted by Jones and his followers. He testified that he made him a “living hell.”
After years of false allegations, Jones admitted under oath that the shooting was “100% real” and even shook hands with his parents.
But a bombastic version of Jones was always lurking beneath the surface, or on full display away from the court.
During a break on the first day, he held an impromptu press conference just a few feet from the courtroom door, where the proceedings were a “Kangaroo Court,” announcing his fight for free speech under the First Amendment. Declared it was a “show trial”. On the first day, he arrived at the courthouse with “Save the 1st” written in silver tape over his mouth.
When he came to court, he was always accompanied by three or four bodyguards. Jones, who did not appear in court for the verdict, often skipped his testimony to appear on his daily Infowars program, and attacks on judges and jurors ensued. On one show, Jones said the jury was drawn from a group of people who “don’t know what planet they live on.”
The clip was shown to the judges. So was the snapshot on his Infowars website showing Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in flames. She laughed.
Jones was slightly less combative in court. He was the only witness to testify in his defense, and Gamble knew it could be derailed. , warned that if he tried to turn it into a performance, he would clean up the courtroom and shut down the livestream broadcasting the trial to the world.
When Jones arrived for Lewis’ testimony, Gamble, in violation of strict courtroom rules, asked if he was chewing gum. was
This led to a bitter exchange. Jones said he didn’t chew gum. Gamble said he could see his mouth moving. Jones leaned back on the platform with her mouth wide open, showing her the gap between her extracted teeth. Jones claimed he was just massaging the hole with his tongue.
“Don’t show me,” said the judge.
Some legal experts said they were surprised by Jones’ actions and wondered if it was a calculated risk to increase his appeal to fans.
Barry Covert, a First Amendment attorney in Buffalo, New York, said: “In my opinion, Jones is a money-making juggernaut — crazy as a fox,” Covert said. “The bigger the spectacle, the better.”
Kevin Goldberg, a First Amendment expert at the Maryland-based Freedom Forum, said it’s hard to imagine what Jones might be thinking and how he might benefit from his actions. said it was difficult.
“I don’t know what it’s designed to accomplish other than being an Alex Jones brand,” Goldberg said. It’s like a person…in disrespect for government agencies and this court.”
Defendants on trial are often given some leeway as they often end up in jail for criminal cases and the potential for financial ruin in Jones’ civil case. Financial sanctions and post-trial contempt charges are also possible.
Gamble had to be careful how she handled it all, Covert said.
“Jones’ bizarre behavior puts the judge in a very difficult box,” Covert said. “She doesn’t want to appear to put a finger on the balance of justice.”
Jones skipped Heslin’s testimony when he explained that a juror had “a bullet hole in his head” by holding his dead son in his arms.
Heslin said he wanted to confront Jones in person, calling his absence that day “timid”. Jones was appearing on his daily broadcast instead.
Jones was in the room when Lewis took the stand, sitting just ten feet away when she looked directly at him.
“The son existed. I’m not the ‘Deep State,'” she said of the conspiracy theory of a dark network of federal agents who run the government.
“I know you know that,” Lewis said.
When Lewis asked Jones if he thought she was an actor, Jones said no, but Gamble scolded him for getting out of turn.
At the end of the day, Jones and his parents shook hands. Lewis handed him a sip of water to help calm Jones’s persistent cough, which Jones said was caused by a torn larynx. Disbanded.
“No,” Ball said flatly to Jones.
Jones was the sole witness in his defense. Because his testimony often imposed court rules, plaintiffs openly questioned whether Jones and his attorneys were trying to obstruct the court and force a miscarriage of justice. After alleging, they filed a motion for sanctions against them.
At one point, Jones appeared surprised when a family lawyer announced that Jones’ legal team had mistakenly sent two years’ worth of data from Jones’ cell phone. They said they proved they had received texts and emails regarding the finances of Sandy Hook and his media company.
“This is your Perry Mason moment,” Jones snapped.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Mark Bankston, said on Thursday that the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots has requested those materials, and he will give them to them. said it was intended.
The Jan. 6 committee first subpoenaed Jones in November to demand depositions and documents related to his efforts to spread misinformation about the 2020 election and the rally on the day of the attack. did.
During the trial, Jones often spoke out of turn, and was cut when he veered into conspiracies ranging from the September 11th terrorist attacks to the United Nations’ bogus efforts to combat global population decline. It continued to question some of the biggest events in American life and important institutions of government.
“This,” the judge said to him, “is not your show.”
Term reported from Chicago.
The full AP article on the Alex Jones trial can be found at https://apnews.com/hub/alex-jones.
Alex Jones’ bombastic behavior affects him in court – Reading Eagle
Source link Alex Jones’ bombastic behavior affects him in court – Reading Eagle