Alex Jones testifies in defamation trial over his lies about Sandy Hook massacre

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones speaking to the media
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones speaks to the media Tuesday before entering court for his defamation damages trial in Waterbury, Conn.
(Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media)

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones took the stand Thursday at his defamation trial in Connecticut as he and his lawyer try to limit damages he must pay for promoting the lie that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax.

More than a dozen family members of some of the 20 children and six educators killed in the shooting also showed up to observe his testimony in Waterbury Superior Court, about 20 miles away from Newtown, Conn., where the shooting took place.

Jones has been in Connecticut this week in preparation for his appearance. He held a news conference Wednesday outside the courthouse, bashing the proceedings — as he has on his Infowars show — as a “travesty of justice” and calling the judge a “tyrant.”


He made similar comments on his way into the courthouse Thursday, indicating that he may invoke his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and not answer some questions.

“This is not really a trial,” he said. “This is a show trial, a literal kangaroo court.”

Plaintiffs’ attorneys began by asking Jones whether he believed Judge Barbara Bellis was a tyrant and whether he calls a lot of people tyrants.

An economist says conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company Free Speech Systems are worth up to $270 million.

Aug. 5, 2022

“Only when they act like it,” he said.

Several victims’ relatives have given emotional testimony during the trial about being traumatized by people calling the shooting fake, including confrontations at their homes and in public, and messages including death and rape threats. The plaintiffs include an FBI agent who responded to the shooting and relatives of eight of the victims.

Bellis last year found Jones liable by default for damages to plaintiffs without a trial, as punishment for what she called his repeated failures to turn over documents to their lawyers. The six-member jury will be deciding only how much Jones and Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent company, should pay the families for defaming them and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.

Bellis began the day going over with Jones the topics he cannot testify about — including free speech rights, the Sandy Hook families’ $73-million settlement earlier this year with gun maker Remington (the company made the Bushmaster rifle used to kill the victims at Sandy Hook), the percentage of Jones’ shows that discussed Sandy Hook and whether he profited from those shows, or a similar case in Texas.


A Connecticut jury begins hearing arguments about how much Alex Jones should pay relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Sept. 13, 2022

“This is not the appropriate forum for you to offer that testimony,” Bellis said. Jones indicated that he understood.

Bellis said in court Wednesday that she was prepared to handle any incendiary testimony from Jones, with contempt of court proceedings if necessary.

Jones also was found liable by default in two similar lawsuits over the hoax lies in his hometown of Austin, Texas, where a jury in one of the trials ordered him last month to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of one of the children killed. A third trial in Texas is expected to begin near the end of the year.

When Jones faced the Texas jury last month and testified under oath, he toned down his rhetoric. He said he realized the hoax lies were irresponsible and the shooting was “100% real.”

“I unintentionally took part in things that did hurt these people’s feelings,” Jones testified.

He also acknowledged raising conspiracy claims about other mass tragedies, including the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings and the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Fla. “I’m sorry for that.”

Jones had portrayed the Sandy Hook shooting as staged by actors as part of gun control efforts.

Testimony at the current trial also has focused on website analytics data run by Infowars employees showing how its sales of dietary supplements, food, clothing and other items spiked around the time Jones talked about the Sandy Hook shooting.

People like Jones and Trump are scamming, not theorizing.

Aug. 6, 2022

Evidence, including internal Infowars emails and depositions, also shows dissension within the company about pushing the hoax lies.

Jones’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, is arguing that any damages should be limited. He accused the victims’ relatives of exaggerating the harm the lies caused them.

The relatives have testified that they continue to fear for their safety because of what the hoax believers have done and might do.

Jennifer Hensel, whose 6-year-old daughter, Avielle Richman, was among the slain, testified Wednesday that she still monitors her surroundings for safety reasons. She said she is trying to shield her two children, ages 7 and 5, from the hoax lies.

“They’re so young,” she said of her children. “Their innocence is so beautiful right now. And at some point there are a horde of people out there who could hurt them.”