Alex Jones kicks off combative trial testimony over Sandy Hook lies by pushing ‘deep state’ conspiracy

·6-min read

Alex Jones kicked off his combative testimony in his defamation case over his lies about the Sandy Hook massacre by pushing another wild conspiracy – this time about the so-called “deep state”.

The far-right conspiracy theorist took the stand on Thursday in his second defamation trial, where jurors will decide how much he must pay in damages to victims’ families over the lies he spread claiming that the 2012 mass shooting was a “hoax” and the 26 murder victims were “actors”.

His appearance on the stand instantly got off to a contentious start as he said he didn’t think the case – to provide closure to families who have been terrorised and harassed for years because of his lies about their dead loved ones – was “important” but instead was part of a deep state conspiracy.

Jurros were shown an article and video about FBI agent Bill Aldenberg – one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit – which featured on Mr Jones’s Infowars show.

The piece is falsely titled: “FBI Sues Alex Jones to Destroy First Amendment.”

Christopher Mattei, the attorney for the victims’ families, questioned Mr Jones about this false statementy and asking whether he understood that he had not been sued by the FBI.

“He’s an FBI agent and he’s up here in his capacity,” Mr Jones responded.

Mr Mattei asked: “Is it your testimony the FBI is suing you?”

MrJones responded with his first mention of a deep state conspiracy less than an hour into his testimony: “I think it is a deep state situation, yeah.”

He then concedes that the FBI is not “officially” suing him.

The “deep state” is a discredited conspiracy theory pushed by Donald Trump and right-wing extremists and claiming that there is a clamdestine network of liberal elites controlling the US government.

Mr Jones often pushes the conspiracy theory – without evidence – on his show Infowars. The right-wing show is the same platform used by Mr Jones to push his lies about the Sandy Hook massacre.

Mr Mattei questioned the extremist about whether he believes the trial is “important”.

Alex Jones arrives in court to tetsify at his defamation trial on Thursday (REUTERS)
Alex Jones arrives in court to tetsify at his defamation trial on Thursday (REUTERS)

“This is an important case isn’t it?” asked Mr Mattei.

“I don’t think it is a case,” Mr Jones retorted.

The judge told the right-wing conspiracy theorist to answer only yes, no or I don’t know.

But Mr Jones continued to embellish his answers when asked the question again.

“I think this is historic,” he replied, to which Judge Barbara Bellis once again told him to answer yes, no or I don’t know.

In a tense exchange, Mr Mattei questioned whether Mr Jones was using the case as a “marketing opportunity” and confronted him about his comments about both Judge Bellis and the trial.

Mr Jones admitted that he had called the trial a “kangaroo court” and the judge a “tyrant” since his second defamation trial began back on 13 September.

The right-wing conspiracy theorist has repeatedly disrespected Judge Bellis both on his Infowars show and during irate rants outside the courthouse over the last week.

On Tuesday, he launched into a furious rant outside the court where he branded Judge Bellis a “tyrant”.

The court heard about the press conference and was shown evidence that Mr Jones had been mocking Judge Bellis and calling the trial a “kangaroo court” on the very same platform that he used to push lies about the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.

A screengrab taken from the Infowars website showed a picture of Judge Bellis with red lasers for eyes, with the word “CONTEMPT!” plastered across it.

In another image from the website, the judge is seen engulfed in flames.

Judge Bellis on the right is engulfed in flames in an image posted on Infowars (Law & Crime)
Judge Bellis on the right is engulfed in flames in an image posted on Infowars (Law & Crime)

Mr Mattei pointed out that Mr Jones’s website had created a webpage dedicated to what he called the “kangaroo court” which also features an advertisement for him to sell products.

The direct examination was tense throughout with Mr Jones constantly raising his eyebrows and pulled faces during the exchange – and the jury being sent out of the room twice within the first hour for the judge to hear issues from the legal teams.

Before jurors even entered the courtroom, Judge Bellis warned Mr Jones about topics that he could not speak about in his testimony, so as to avoid “any unpleasantness” in front of the jury.

Mr Jones told the judge he understood the rules.

He appeared under subpoena on the request of the legal team for the victims’ families.

Mr Jones was successfully sued by the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in multiple lawsuits.

Mr Jones had began spouting false claims almost immediately after the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, claiming on his conspiracy site that the mass shooting was “a giant hoax” and that the victims were “actors”.

He continued to push the lies to his followers for years claiming it was a “false flag” operation.

While Mr Jones profited financially from spreading his lies, the victims’ families were subjected to years of in-person and online harassment and threats from his followers.

In court on Wednesday, the parents of some of the young children murdered in the 2012 attack gave heartbreaking testimony about the toll Mr Jones’s actions had taken on them.

David Wheeler broke down in tears as he told how the conspiracy theorist’s lies had spurred strangers to show up at his door demanding to see his murdered six-year-old son Ben.

“Someone came to the house and knocked on the door. The person demanded to see Ben, saying ‘I know he’s here, I know he’s alive,’” Mr Wheeler said.

“I felt like I was underwater. I didn’t know which way was up. To have someone publicly telling the world that it didn’t happen, that you’re a fraud and a phoney is incredibly disorienting.”

Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung who was also killed in the massacre, testified that she had been forced to move five times to try to get away from the threats and harassment.

“For 27 years of my life, that woman was my best friend,” Ms Lafferty said of her mother.

“For people to tell me she didn’t exist, how do you just let that happen?”

The Texas suit was the first to go to trial last month.

In that trial, Mr Jones admitted that he knew the 2012 massacre was real – and not a “hoax” as he had previously claimed it was.

In that case, he was ordered to pay $4.11m in compensatory damages and $45.2m in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of six-year-old victim Jesse Lewis.

Now, jurors in Connecticut will decide how much Mr Jones must pay those families in damages.