Five of the most dramatic scenes from the Alex Jones trial
Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was ordered by a Texas jury on Thursday to pay the parents of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre $4 million as part of a years-long legal battle stemming from his false statements about the shooting.
During a trial that dominated news headlines this week, lawyers detailed how Jones had for years spread falsehoods about the mass killing on his online show and profited from them.
The proceedings also featured a number of dramatic courtroom moments and unforeseen twists.
Here are five of the most dramatic scenes and developments during the Jones trial.
Jones’s lawyer accidently sent texts to plaintiff’s attorneys
An attorney for Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was killed in the 2012 shooting, sparked one of the most memorable moments of the trial when he revealed in open court that Jones’s lawyer had “messed up” and sent him a complete digital copy of Jones’s cellphone records.
“Mr. Jones, did you know that 12 days ago, your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you’ve sent for the past two years?” Mark Bankston, the parents’ attorney, asked Jones. “You know what perjury is, right?”
Bankston added that when he informed Jones’s attorney of the mistake, the pundit’s lawyers “did not take any steps to identify it as privileged or protected in any way,” saying the digital communications “fell free and clear into my possession.”
“And that is how I know you lied to me when you said you didn’t have text messages about Sandy Hook,” Bankston said.
Jones’s lead attorney, Andino Reynal, later asked judge Judge Maya Guerra Gamble to declare a mistrial over the mistake, which she declined to do.
Jan. 6 committee looks to obtain Jones’s communications
Soon after the revelation that Bankston had come into possession of Jones’s text messages, Rolling Stone reported the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was seeking to obtain them as well.
Jones, who is among the most prominent boosters of former President Trump’s false claims about voter fraud, was near the Capitol before the assault and rallied with his supporters that day.
“The Jan. 6 committee doesn’t have any more information about what’s on that phone than I do. I don’t know if it even covers the time period they are interested in,” Bankston told reporters.
Jones, on his Infowars show Thursday, said he had “nothing to do with” the Jan. 6 attack.
“And if anything, I say more radical things on air than I do on text messages. And the idea that there’s some type of criminal activity on there is preposterous,” he said.
Judge admonishes Jones for lying about his cooperation, financial status
As he and his lawyers attempted to mount a defense, Jones addressed the parents of one of the children killed in the attack and argued he never intended to harm them.
Jones and his lawyers also suggested that the far-right personality should not be compelled to pay the family the $150 million in compensation for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress they were seeking. The Jones team argued that Jones had already paid a heavy price by losing millions of viewers and listeners, significantly impacting his business and forcing him to file for bankruptcy.
They also argued that Jones had complied with the discovery process in the trial, an assertion Gamble pushed back on in court on Tuesday.
“Mr. Jones, you may not say to this jury that you complied with discovery,” Gamble said. “That is not true. You may not say it again. You may not tell this jury that you are bankrupt. That is also not true. You may have filed for bankruptcy, I don’t know that, but I’ve heard that. That doesn’t make a person or a company bankrupt.”
Mother of victim confronts Jones in court
Lewis, the mother of one of the children killed in the attack, addressed Jones directly in court on Tuesday and explained to him how his false statements about the incident had harmed she and her family.
“I wanted to tell you to your face because I wanted you to know that I am a mother first and foremost. And I know that you are a father. And my son existed,” she told Jones. “And I don’t understand. Truth, truth is so vital to our world. Truth is what we base our reality on, and we have to agree on that to have a civil society. Sandy Hook is a hard truth. Hard truth. Nobody would want to ever believe that 26 kids could be murdered.”
The mother said since her son’s death she has dedicated her life to “keeping kids safe” and that Jones’s spreading of conspiracies about Sandy Hook makes that work more difficult.
Lewis admonished Jones for “trying to say that I’m implying that I’m an actress, that I am deep state.”
“This happened almost 10 years ago. We have to keep our kids safe,” she said. “Jesse was real. I am a real mom.”
Jones acknowledges Sandy Hook massacre occurred
Jones had repeatedly told his viewers and listeners that the massacre at the elementary school in Newton, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, was a so-called false flag event that had been staged using crisis actors to inspire a national outcry and gun control.
This week in court, he acknowledged that was untrue and called the incident “100 percent real.”
“I unintentionally took part in things that did hurt these people’s feelings,” he said.
Jones was not present in court on Thursday, but on his show he told his audience he admitted in court that he was wrong about Sandy Hook.
“I admitted it was a mistake. I admitted that I followed disinformation, but not on purpose. I apologized to the families. And the jury understood that,” he said. “What I did to those families was wrong. But I didn’t do it on purpose.”
The Associated Press contributed reporting