Right wing provocateur Alex Jones said he won’t resume testifying until next week in the defamation suit against him by families of Sandy Hook victims and then blasted the lawyers pressing the suit and again called the judicial process itself rigged.
“They weaponized the judiciary to find me in default after we complied with an excruciating discovery,” he told a scrum of reporters outside the courthouse in Waterbury, Connecticut, on Friday. “And then they use the very evidence you gave them against you. But then you can’t even talk about that evidence. So this is basically as rigged as you can get.”
In his third impromptu press conference since the trial began last week, Jones complained about a default ruling by Judge Barbara Bellis that punished him for failing to comply with court orders by settling the question of liability in favor of the victim families, preventing him from presenting a defense and limiting what he can argue in an effort to minimize damages.
Relatives of nine Sandy Hook victims, along with a first responder from the FBI, are arguing in the trial of three consolidated suits against Jones that they suffered emotionally from threats and harassment directly attributable to years of phony assertions by Jones that the Sandy Hook murders were a hoax contrived to win support for gun control and the grieving parents and dead children were actors.
As a result of the default, the only question before the jury in the civil trial is the amount to be awarded to the families in damages. In August, the parents of one of the 20 murdered first graders won about $50 million in damages from Jones in a trial in Texas, which is where Jones’ influential broadcasting and web-based business is located.
Jones testified for a full day Thursday, the target of sharp questions from family lawyer Christopher Mattei designed to force him to acknowledge the falsity of the claims he broadcast over radio and the internet to an audience millions and the danger in which he put the families.
He was to resume the witness stand Friday morning to be questioned by his lawyer, Norman A. Pattis. But Pattis told Bellis early in the day he would forgo what would have been cross examination of Jones following Mattei’s direct examination. Instead, Pattis said he will call Jones as a defense witness and question him next week.
Later Friday morning, Bellis excused the jury, said there would be no presentation of evidence in the trial Friday and it would resume on Tuesday. The lawyers for the families asked to be allowed to return to court still later Friday, when they said it was possible they might ask for some unspecified “relief” in response to what they called the “press conference” and Belllis agreed.
Jones’ appearance on the witness stand Thursday ended in a free-for-all courtroom shouting match. Nearing the end of his questioning, Mattei raised his voice, waved to the families of the murdered children and educators in the court gallery and accused Jones of putting targets on their backs.
Pattis started shouting “objection” in a futile effort to prevent a response from Jones. Jones, instead, turned on Mattei. When the courtroom quieted down. Beliis told both lawyers and Jones they would face criminal contempt hearings if there is a repeat performance.
“Then he had this big Perry Mason moment where he blew up, started screaming at me,” Jones told the reporters outside the courthouse Friday morning. “Wouldn’t be quiet when the judge said. So she couldn’t sanction me because she wasn’t willing to sanction him. Chris Mattei already has the trial rigged. He already has it where I can’t put on evidence. And they he screams at me for five minutes.”
“And all I did is respond and say, “You’re an ambulance chaser and you’re a despicable person. And he pretends that I’m the devil.”
Jones complained that people have forgotten that it was a mentally unstable 20-year old, Adam Lanza, who committed the Sandy Hook murders and, instead he has become the face of the massacre. He said he admitted years ago he was wrong in calling it a hoax, but he believed it was a hoax when he made the assertion and believes he had a free speech right to do so.
“I did do that and I can see how it was hurtful,” Jones told the reporters. “But it is still my free speech. And I apologized. I want to get past Sandy Hook. I want to get school safety bills passed”
“I imagine, in 30 years, this law firm will be suing people with the Sandy Hook families,” he told the reporters. “Someday their great great grandchildren may be suing people over this….When the real person who killed the children was Adam Lanza.”