Latest trial begins for Alex Jones over his false Sandy Hook claims: NPR

Alex Jones speaks to reporters during a break in his trial in Austin, Texas, on July 26.

Briana Sanchez/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool

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Briana Sanchez/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool

Alex Jones speaks to reporters during a break in his trial in Austin, Texas, on July 26.

Briana Sanchez/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool

WATERBURY, Conn. — A Connecticut jury began hearing arguments Tuesday in a trial to decide how much money conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should pay relatives of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims for spreading the lie that the massacre it was a hoax.

The trial is taking place in Waterbury, less than 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Newtown, where 26 children and teachers were shot dead in 2012.

More than a dozen family members, including parents of some victims, entered the courtroom to hear opening statements and the first day of evidence.

It is the second such trial for Jones, who was ordered by a Texas jury last month to pay nearly $50 million the parents of one of the murdered children.

A jury of three men and three women along with several alternates will decide how much conspiracy theory must pay relatives of eight victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school. Judge Barbara Bellis found responsible jones without a trial last year after he failed to provide documents to the families’ attorneys.

On Tuesday, it sanctioned Jones for failing to provide analytics data related to his website and the popularity of his show. She told her attorneys that because of her failure, she will not be allowed to argue that she did not benefit from her comments about Sandy Hook.

Jones did not attend the opening of the trial on Tuesday. He said on his Monday show that he would be traveling to Connecticut next week.

The trial is expected to last about a month and feature testimony from both Jones and the families.

Bellis instructed the jury that Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, have already been found liable for damages to plaintiffs for calling the shooting a hoax on multiple media platforms and saying no one was killed.

The families of Sandy Hook and former FBI agent William Aldenberg say they have been confronted and harassed for years by people who believed Jones’ false claim that the shooting was staged by crisis actors as part of a plot to take them away. weapons to people.

Some say strangers recorded them and their surviving children. They have also suffered death threats and have been the subject of abusive comments on social media. And some families have moved out of Newtown to avoid harassment. They accuse Jones of causing them emotional and psychological harm.

Jones, whose Infowars brand and web show are based in Austin, Texas, has been banned from YouTube, Facebook and Spotify for violating hate speech policies.

Jones now says he believes the shooting was real. At the Texas trial, he testified that he realizes what he said was irresponsible, hurt people’s feelings, and apologized.

However, he continues to insist that his comments protected free speech. He sees the lawsuits as efforts to silence him and put him out of business.

Jones’ attorneys say he intends to appeal the judgment against him in Texas. Jones will also face a third trial in Texas involving the parents of another murdered child.

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