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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Megan Sheets

Alex Jones says Sandy Hook families are ‘demonising’ him as he finally appears at deposition after paying $75k fines

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Alex Jones has finally appeared at a deposition in his legal battle with the families of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre after a court held him in contempt for skipping questioning twice.

Lawyers for the families alerted the court that Mr Jones complied with its order to sit for the deposition in a court filing on Wednesday.

It comes after Mr Jones was ordered to pay escalating fines starting at $25,000 per each day that he failed to appear. Court records showed he paid at least $75,000 in total prior to the deposition.

In a video on his Infowars website, Mr Jones said that the deposition began Tuesday and was to continue Wednesday. He claimed the families’ lawyers began the deposition by “demonising” him for his questioning official versions of events.

“It’s just totally insane to sit there and watch this happen and to watch them lick their lips and lick their chops and think we’re going to finally shut Alex Jones down,” he said. “These people want to put us in prison for our speech.”

Mr Jones’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, said tempers flared at times during the deposition on Tuesday, and much of the questioning was not related to the school shooting.

“I had the impression watching the attack on Mr Jones that this trial will be about something far greater than what happened at Sandy Hook,” Mr Pattis said on the video. “The trial’s going to be about ordinary people’s ability to say I’m not buying it, I want to raise questions, I want to draw my own conclusions.”

The deposition is in preparation for a jury trial to determine damages after Mr Jones was found guilty of defamation in multiple lawsuits last year over his false claims that the 2012 school shooting that left 26 dead was “a giant hoax”.

Two days before he was set to testify under oath on 23 March, Mr Jones’ lawyers made a last-ditch attempt to delay it by claiming he was too sick to attend due to unnamed “medical conditions” and that doctors had advised him to remain at home. Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis rejected the request to delay, but Mr Jones failed to show anyway.

The judge then approved the plaintiff’s request to hold him in contempt of court and slapped him with daily fines beginning at $25,000 and escalating by $25,000 for each day he failed to show.

Lawyers for the Infowars host filed a motion last week asking Judge Bellis to reconsider the fines in light of a newly-scheduled deposition on 11 April - arguing that it was unfair to require him to “pay fines totaling potentially $1.65 million for relying on a doctor’s note to not attend a deposition”.

Just as the motion was entered, Mr Jones aired his grievances with Judge Bellis on his show, branding her a liar and a “thing”.

“We got this judge up in Connecticut, if you could call it that — this thing that has just cheated us every way, lied about us, said we didn’t give them this, sanctioned us for not giving them the ‘Sandy Hook marketing,’” Mr Jones said, according to Media Matters. “It’s like saying give me the unicorn. Don’t have one, lady. I know you got a leprechaun.”

He continued: “And that was when she first started sanctioning us and defaulted us, and now when you’re defaulted, you’re not supposed to get deposed. But they’ve changed their depositions like eight times, I already did three depositions on the other Sandy Hook stuff and all these other ones myself.

“And so I go, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling well, I need to move it.’ ‘Oh my God, we’re going to arrest you. We’re going to put you in jail. We’re going to fine you $25,000 the first day, $50,000 the next.’ It compounds every day to $1.6m in the next week and a half if I don’t appear in Connecticut where she can clap the irons on me.

“So you know what? I’m going to go up there so they can clap their irons on me, whatever, because at least I’m a grown man, I know God. I’m not like some kid in these leftist dungeons they’re raping.

“People got God to deal with, that’s all I can tell you. Oh, I’m not saying this judge or any of these lawyers are pedophiles. I’m just saying the news and the left promotes pedophilia while attacking the family, and the Democratic Party itself just signed an executive order that will destroy women’s sports. That’s what I said.”

It’s unclear if Mr Jones’ comments reached the ears of Judge Bellis, who denied his motion to reconsider the fines.

Judge Bellis previously took Mr Jones’ show into consideration when denying his request to delay the deposition last week, noting that he was seemingly well enough to continue broadcasting his hours-long show - leaving his home on at least one occasion to travel to his studio to film it.

It later emerged that the doctor who advised him that he was too unwell to attend the deposition was the same doctor who appeared on his show on 21 March to attack the Covid-19 vaccines as “poison” and call the US’s top doctor Dr Anthony Fauci “the greatest mass murderer in the history of the world”.

Mr Jones subsequently defied court orders by failing to show up for the original deposition and a rescheduled one, prompting attorneys for the Sandy Hook victims’ families to ask the judge to find him in contempt and have him arrested.

Hours before a hearing on the contempt motion, Mr Jones extended an offer to settle the defamation lawsuits with a “heartfelt apology” and $120,000 payout to each plaintiff.

Lawyers for the families quickly shut down the offer, telling the Associated Press the settlement was a “transparent and desperate attempt by Alex Jones to escape a public reckoning under oath with his deceitful, profit-driven campaign against the plaintiffs and the memory of their loved ones lost at Sandy Hook”.

Mr Jones responded to the rejection in a lengthy statement the following day, which read in part: “The Sandy Hook shootings are almost a decade behind us. It’s time to put this case behind us, too. Most of the families affected never joined the suits; those who have are no doubt weary of it. The world is on the cusp of war and all the ambulance chasers care about is hatred.”

He continued: “We would like to resolve these cases and stop wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees. If the plaintiffs’ lawyers don’t want that because they crave playing the role of hero to mainstream media, let’s at least be honest about what is going on here. This case is becoming less about Sandy Hook than it is about the right to speak freely.”

On 14 December 2012, 20 students aged six and seven years old and six staff members were shot and killed by 20-year-old Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

In the aftermath, Mr Jones made several false claims on his show and through his website that the mass shooting was a “false flag” operation engineered by the government to bring about stricter gun control laws. Mr Jones later changed course and said the shooting, the worst crime in modern Connecticut history, did occur.

The families of eight of the victims, as well as an FBI agent who responded to the shooting, sued Mr Jones, alleging that they were subjected to years of in-person and online harassment over his false claims, all the while Mr Jones financially profited by spreading the conspiracies.

Mr Jones was found guilty by default in four separate suits, which will now head to jury trials to decide how much he has to pay them for damages and legal fees.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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