Alex Jones’ second Sandy Hook defamation trial kicked off in Connecticut on Tuesday, and the conspiracy monger and InfoWars founder’s lawyer is attempting to win over the court by arguing that it’s not the families of slain children, but Jones himself who is the real victim in the dispute, describing his client as a “scapegoat” and “a whipping boy.”
Jones lawyer Norm Pattis added that the parents of children killed in the 2012 massacre “exaggerate the harm” that Jones caused them by spreading conspiracies about the deaths of their children, and that they’re blowing things out of proportion “for political reasons.”
The trial will determine damages owed to a group of six victims families, and a law enforcement agent who responded to the shooting, in Connecticut. Jones was found guilty by Judge Barbara Bellis of defaming the Sandy Hook families, and a jury will decide the amount Jones must pay them.
Jones was ordered in August to pay Sandy Hook families suing him in Texas nearly $50 million in damages.
In the aftermath of the shooting, during which 26 people, including 20 six-and seven-year-old students, were killed, Jones claimed the massacre was a “hoax” orchestrated by Second Amendment opponents, and accused the families of the victims of being crisis actors and “demonically possessed.”
During opening statements on Tuesday, the plaintiffs’ counsel displayed some of the content Jones created about the shooting, including a video titled “Sandy Hook Vampires Exposed.”
The families Jones targeted described systemic harassment by Jones’ followers. Veronica de la Rosa, mother to victim Noah Pozner, revealed in an interview that the harassment was so unrelenting that it resulted in her family having to move more than 10 times since the shooting. Other parents described dealing with a slew of conspiracies in the aftermath of their child’s death as a “living hell.”
Jones’ recalcitrant behavior in the Austin trial already has participants in the Connecticut trial on guard. Judge Bellis indicated on Tuesday that she was putting the court “on notice” and is prepared to “address contempt on the spot” should it arise when Jones testifies or is present before the court.
Jones was absent from the court’s proceedings on Tuesday. Instead, he was broadcasting from his studio, insisting that buying his latest book and his supplements were the only thing that would save InfoWars from ruin. The New York Times notes that he told his viewers he was being persecuted by the “new world order,” and needed their help.
The defamation suits brought by the victims of Jones’ conspiracies have left InfoWars in dire financial straits, and have motivated Jones to attempt to devalue the company in an attempt to lower his own potential liabilities.
But financial issues are only the beginning of Jones’ troubles. He was subpoenaed by the Jan 6. committee earlier this year, and the committee obtained two years of his texts after his lawyer accidentally gave them to one of the Sandy Hook families’ lawyers. Rolling Stone reported on Monday that those texts detail how Jones spied on both his wife and ex-wife, including contracting former Blackwater operatives to track the whereabouts of his spouse.