How Alex Jones’ behavior affects him in court

Written by Javed Iqbal

The total damages of nearly $50 million were significantly less than the $150 million in damages sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis.

Jones faces two more Sandy Hook trials to determine damages later this year: one for the parents of a 6-year-old boy in an Austin court and another for eight families in Connecticut.

Heslin and Lewis have testified that Jones’ constant push of false claims that the shooting was a hoax or staged made the last decade a “living hell” of death threats, online abuse and ongoing trauma inflicted by Jones and his followers.

After years of false hoax claims, Jones admitted under oath that the shooting was “100% real” and even shook hands with the parents.

But the bombastic version of Jones always lurked beneath the surface — or even on full display away from the courthouse.

During a break on the first day, he held one impromptu news conference just a few meters from the courtroom doors, declared the case a “kangaroo court” and “show trial” that took his rail. fight for free speech under the first amendment. On the first day, he arrived at the courthouse with “Save the 1st” written on silver tape over his mouth.

When he came to the courthouse, it was always with a security detail of three or four guards. Jones, who was not in court for the sentencing, often skipped testimony to appear on his daily Infowars program, where the attacks on the judge and jury continued. During one show, Jones said the jury was drawn from a group of people who “don’t know what planet they live on.”

That clip was shown to the jury. So was a snapshot from his Infowars website showing Judge Maya Guerra Gamble engulfed in flames. She laughed at that.

Jones was only slightly less combative in court. He was the only witness to testify in his defense. Gamble warned Jones’ attorneys before it even started that if he tried to make an appearance, she would clear the courtroom and shut down the live stream broadcasting the trial to the world.

When Jones arrived for Lewis’s testimony, Gamble asked if he was chewing gum, a violation of a strict rule in her courtroom. She had already scolded his lawyer Andino Reynal several times.

It led to a difficult exchange. Jones said he did not chew gum. Gamble said she could see his mouth moving. Jones opened wide and leaned over the defense table to show her a hole in his mouth where he’d had a tooth pulled. Jones insisted he only massaged the hole with his tongue.

“Don’t show me,” said the judge.

Some legal experts said they were surprised by Jones’ behavior and questioned whether it was a calculated risk to increase his appeal to fans.

“It’s the most bizarre behavior I’ve ever seen in a court case,” said Barry Covert, a Buffalo, New York, First Amendment attorney. “In my opinion, Jones is a money maker — crazy as a fox,” Covert said. “The bigger the play, the better.”

Kevin Goldberg, a First Amendment specialist at the Maryland-based Freedom Forum, said he had a hard time imagining what Jones might be thinking and what benefit he could get from his behavior.

“I don’t know what it’s designed to accomplish other than being on fire for Alex Jones,” Goldberg said. “This appears to be a man who has built his brand … on disrespecting the institutions of government … and this court.”

Defendants at trial are often given some leeway because they have so much at stake — prison time in criminal cases and, in Jones’ civil suit, potential financial ruin. Monetary penalties or even post-trial contempt charges are also a possibility.

Gamble had to be careful how she handled it all, Covert said.

“Jones’ bizarre behavior puts the judge in a very difficult box,” Covert said. “She doesn’t want to show up to tip her finger on the scales of justice.”

Jones skipped over Heslin’s testimony when he described to the jury that he held his dead son in his arms with a “bullet hole through the head.”

Heslin said he wanted to confront Jones face-to-face and called his absence that day “cowardly.” Jones appeared on his daily broadcast instead.

Jones was in the room when Lewis took the stand and was sitting barely 10 feet away when she looked directly at him.

“My son existed. I’m not ‘deep state,'” she said conspiracy theory about a shadowy network of federal workers who run the government.

“I know you know,” Lewis said.

When Lewis asked Jones if he thought she was an actor, Jones replied, “No,” but was cut off by Gamble, who berated him for speaking out of turn.

At the end of that day, Jones and the parents shook hands. Lewis even gave Jones a sip of water to help quell a persistent cough that Jones said was caused by a torn larynx. Her attorney Wesley Ball quickly stepped in to break it up.

“No,” Ball snapped at Jones, “you are NOT doing this.”

Jones was the only witness in his defense. His testimony pushed the rules of court so often that the plaintiffs openly questioned whether Jones and his lawyers were trying to sabotage the case and force a trial. They filed a motion for sanctions against them after Jones claimed he was bankrupt, which lawyers dispute and were excluded in testimony.

At one point, Jones appeared stunned when the family’s lawyers announced that Jones’ legal team had mistakenly sent them two years of data from his cell phone — a massive data dump they said should have been produced in discovery but wasn’t. They said it proved he had received texts and emails about Sandy Hook and his media company’s finances that he had not turned over under court orders.

“This is your Perry Mason moment,” Jones said.

Plaintiff’s lawyer Mark Bankston said Thursday that the House committee investigating the riot on January 6, 2021 at the US capital. had requested these materials and that he intended to give it to them.

The Jan. 6 committee first subpoenaed Jones in November, demanding a deposition and documents related to his efforts to spread misinformation about the 2020 election and a meeting on the day of the attack.

During the trial, Jones often spoke out of turn and was cut off as he delved into conspiracies ranging from the 9/11 terrorist attacks being staged to a bogus United Nations effort to depopulate the world. He went on to question some of the biggest events and significant government institutions in American life.

“This,” the judge told him, “is not your show.”

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Javed Iqbal

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