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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Edmund H. Mahony

New evidence shows Alex Jones’ InfoWars sales volume exploded during Sandy Hook false ‘hoax’ programming

Sandy Hook parents revealed new records in court Thursday that show conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ company ran sophisticated analyses of his web-based businesses and knew his sales volume exploded during programming portraying the Newtown school shootings as a government hoax.

In one remarkable example, Jones’ internal records show that in September 2014, the single-day sales total at just one of his half dozen internet sales sites jumped 500%, from $48,000 to $232,000, after Jones interviewed a notorious Sandy Hook denier about a phony news report asserting that no one died at the school, according to a record produced in court.

The web traffic analyses presented to jurors Thursday suggest Jones exploited the relationship between Sandy Hook content and profit, at least since 2014, running up hundreds of millions of dollars in sales — even after being made aware his hoax broadcasts endangered the parents and relatives of 20 first graders and six educators murdered in the mass shooting.

Jurors got the analytics reports, mixed with Jones’ wildly fallacious broadcast denials of the shootings, during the third day of trial in a suit against Jones and his business by a first responder and relatives of the 26 students and educators who died. They are asking for compensation for the harassment they say they have experienced as a result of his claims to an audience of millions that they were actors in a faux school massacre staged as a pretext for gun control.

Thursday was the second full day of laborious questioning by family lawyer Christopher Mattei of Brittany Paz, the Connecticut lawyer Jones hired on the eve of trial to testify as corporate representative of Free Speech Systems, the wholly-owned Jones company behind InfoWars, his Texas-based family of broadcasting, internet and retail sales platforms.

Paz was unable to answer a number of questions because, after hiring her to testify in the suit as his representative, she said Jones did not make himself available to answer her questions in some cases and failed to make records available to her in others. Among the records Paz said she could not access were figures on the volume of internet traffic to and from Jones’ social media sites.

Much of the questioning Thursday turned on the extraordinarily high social media traffic associated with Jones’ multiple websites and broadcasting operation in late September 2014 before and after his interview with Sandy Hook denier Wolfgang Halbig, who became a regular guest on Jones’ broadcasts.

Internal Free Speech System email correspondence shows that the company valued its presence on social media because it drove buyers to its sales sites for its products, such as highly priced nutritional supplements and survivalist gear.

Jones declared on his radio show within hours of the Sandy Hook shootings that they were a hoax. But two years later, his web traffic and sales increased when he brought Halbig on as a guest on his radio broadcast, according to evidence presented Thursday. Halbig claimed, among other things, that everything about the shootings was a theatrical presentation because the school had been so toxified by lead, asbestos and PCP contamination it had been closed years before.

The day before Halbig’s appearance, Jones’ guest was one of his so-called journalists who wrote an article reporting, falsely, that the FBI had determined no one had been murdered in Newtown in 2012 — meaning the school shootings didn’t happen. During that program, 54% of the traffic to Jones’ primary website came from social media.

Traffic grew to more than 66% and sales rose 500% to $248,000 the next day, when Halbig appeared as a guest to opine on the phony news report. Based on what he called his personal investigation, he said, “Sandy Hook was toxic. It’s a toxic waste dump. It was the filthiest, most despicable school that I had ever seen.”

Three days later, Halbig emailed Jones’ radio producer, thanking him for a contribution InfoWars had made to the legal fund that financed his Sandy Hook investigations.

Halibig continued to appear on Jones’ program and InfoWars assigned its reporters to cover him on trips to Connecticut, where he went demanding proof of a hoax and pressing public records requests from the Newtown police.

Mattei produced email correspondence in court Thursday that shows Halbig was in contact with Infowars until at least 2020, two years after the victim families had filed suit and after Jones had conceded the Sandy Hook shootings were real.

The trial before Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis is solely for the jury to determine the amount of compensation from Jones. The suit accuses Jones of defamation, infliction of emotional distress and violation of the state’s unfair trade practices law, a law that places no ceiling on potential damages.

In an unusual default ruling last year, Bellis settled the suit in favor of the victims, saying Jones forfeited his right to defend himself from liability by violating her orders and legal procedure by failing to participate in the joint disclosure of records and other pretrial proceedings.


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