Once More, With Feeling (Rage)
September 13, 2022 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Today marks the start of the second of three trials to determine the liability of bigoted conspiracy monger and snake oil salesman Alex Jones over his defamation of the families of people killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. This trial is taking place in Connecticut, not far from the site of the mass murder, and is expected to go for four weeks.

The day kicked off with the "revelation" that Jones, known for ranting about government surveillance, had spied on both his former and current spouse. At court, before the trial even began properly, Team Alex was raked over the coals for blatantly violating discovery, resulting in the judge ruling that Jones and his lawyers would not be allowed to argue against the position that he used Sandy Hook to make money.

In opening statements, Jones' counsel Norm Pattis showed that his strategy was to argue that the trial was politically motivated and that the intent of the plaintiffs was to silence a dissenting voice, leaning so heavily on Hillary Clinton's comments on Sandy Hook during the 2016 campaign that the judge held him to task. Plaintiff witnesses included former FBI agent Bill Aldenberg testifying about his experience responding to Newtown, as well as the abuse he and the victims' families experienced, as well as Carla Soto-Parisi, sister of slain teacher Victoria Soto, testifying to her experiences of abuse over her sister's murder.

Pattis has stated that Jones will take the stand.

The first trial on the Blue previously.
posted by NoxAeternum (47 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Good to see that, so far, judges aren't putting up with his bullshit.

Take this slimy fucker down, bankrupt him, etc.
posted by Windopaene at 5:40 PM on September 13, 2022 [17 favorites]

Good to see that, so far, judges aren't putting up with his bullshit.

When the judge already ruled a default judgement against you because you fucked with discovery, continuing to do so is akin to pissing on the judge's leg.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:43 PM on September 13, 2022 [11 favorites]

Jones is the rare kind of idiot who lacks the understanding that even pissing on a judge’s leg could be a problem. Guy’s been living the life of an entitled parasite grown-ass babyman. His brain knows not that he could do any wrong.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 6:22 PM on September 13, 2022 [20 favorites]

Yeah, FTG again.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:32 PM on September 13, 2022

Pattis has stated that Jones will take the stand.

Given the last time this happened in a trial, Jones admitted to a criminal conspiracy, I'm looking forward to it.

The man is a fuckwit who cannot admit when he is wrong, who is just clever enough to staple together a vast alternate universe where his stupid-ass thoughts are correct and valid. I want him to go down, and I want it to be as embarrassing as possible as it happens, and so far, the legal system is providing.
posted by Merus at 6:41 PM on September 13, 2022 [19 favorites]

Would you believe it? I'm out of popcorn again. I'm buying the big box next time. I so want to watch this lying son of a bitch get nailed to the wall for what he did to those families.
posted by Avelwood at 6:45 PM on September 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

I am not one to dump on defense attorneys; I understand they are part and parcel and we want them to be good. But I guess I don’t know Pattis, I didn’t think he would take this case and I definitely didn’t think he would impugn the plaintiffs’ motives, given that these people suffered so much at the hands of Jones’ followers who spent years trying to invalidate them. That is the lowest. There had to be a better argument to make.
posted by drowsy at 6:56 PM on September 13, 2022 [4 favorites]

Until Jones is bankrupt and/or in jail it's all just free publicity for InfoWars. He'll end up profiting from even this.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 6:57 PM on September 13, 2022 [6 favorites]

Credit to photograph folks who have seemingly captured the essence of confusion, fear and loss of treasure and blood created through a voice that belongs in hermetically sealed 24 hr. cammed dunk tank.
posted by clavdivs at 7:21 PM on September 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

I can highly recommend Knowledge Fight podcast in general, but their episodes covering the first trial and it’s aftermath are gold.

One salient detail that the plaintiff’s attorneys made clear is that Jones discussing his finances under oath before his bankruptcy trial was a bad bad move. It might take a while for all of this to finally shake out, but Jones is done. Mark Bankston’s line was something along the lines of “people are going to jail.”

Fingers crossed that the “…and find out.”-part is finally happening.
posted by hototogisu at 7:37 PM on September 13, 2022 [7 favorites]

The lyingest liars who don't understand perjury laws are the only people going to be all the way burnt down. I have a little hope that Jones is gonna be the first one of many.
posted by LucretiusJones at 7:51 PM on September 13, 2022

I wish Knowledge Fight would produce a censored version that replaces Alex Jones' actual voice with a generic AI voice when excerpting him. I can't listen to that podcast because hearing his voice makes me want to punch the nearest inanimate object as hard as I can.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:25 PM on September 13, 2022 [14 favorites]

Until Jones is bankrupt and/or in jail it's all just free publicity for InfoWars. He'll end up profiting from even this.

Yeah, all this should be proper good schadenfreude, but when you do the math it doesn't look good. Or rather, given the insane profitability of InfoWars, it looks good for Alex Jones. That channel pulls in something like half a million dollars a day. Sucker born every minute and all that. And there's always Right-wing/Wingnut Welfare: any number of millionaires and billionaires who can keep Jones afloat with the change found in their Bentley seats. At this rate, even if he loses all of these court cases (and he will) Alex Jones will, unfortunately, be perfectly afloat to keep doing this stuff indefinitely.
posted by zardoz at 8:25 PM on September 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

Still even if Jones is making enough every day to pay off the judgements in a few months/years that is a few months/years of profit he doesn't have in his pockets.

Plus every minute he is in court is a minute he's not infowaring.
posted by Mitheral at 8:43 PM on September 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

It's wrong to give Jones' attorneys a pass. They are just as personally corrupt and against the rule of law as Jones is. If one were to take the metaphor of a "body of law", then both Jones and his legal council are the equivalent of a syphilis infection. The fact that this is the second time Jones and his team lost at the start of the trial shows they embody lawlessness.
All the fascist attorneys who've flocked to Trump and his kind are cut from the same cloth. Defending the rule of law and democracy demands that they be held accountable for their abuse of the legal system. Disbarment is not sufficient. There must be criminal penalties, and changes to the law itself to prevent this kind of activity in the future.
posted by Metacircular at 10:20 PM on September 13, 2022 [14 favorites]

Rather than allowing the retention of wealth through loopholes, a life of poverty should be an allowable judgment against the rich in extreme cases. The defendant should forfeit all wealth except for an allowance that keeps him at the poverty line. Any future income should be liened until the payments are made.
That might sound harsh, but it isn't. I've lived in poverty. It isn't pleasant, but it isn't death.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:25 AM on September 14, 2022 [24 favorites]

If you can't or would rather not watch the trial:
Elizabeth Williamson of the New York Times, who also recently put out a book about Sandy Hook, is there live for the duration of the trial.

Anna Merlan of VICE is watching online and livetweeting the trial.
posted by LostInUbe at 5:31 AM on September 14, 2022 [3 favorites]

This is your regular reminder that creeps like Jones (and, let's not forget, many Republicans in office and otherwise) push the "false flag/crisis actor" lie because otherwise, gun control legislation is the obvious response to horrors like Sandy Hook and the many, many since then.
posted by Gelatin at 5:35 AM on September 14, 2022 [12 favorites]

Didn't this attorney already get in trouble for accidentally giving the plaintiffs in the last trial the medical records for the plaintiffs in this one? How did that turn out?
posted by Spike Glee at 6:51 AM on September 14, 2022

Gelatin: I get your point, but I'm not even sure that Jones has a political goal in mind. His patrons—the "wingnut welfare" types—certainly do, and presumably some of his listeners, but I think he's just been throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks for years.

I think that's why this whole episode has gone so badly for him. He's used to saying literally anything with zero consequence, no matter how bald-facedly stupid or inane it might be.

The fact that he doesn't have a Constitutional right to just say any damn fool thing that pops into his head, in the service of making money, doesn't seem to have ever occurred to him. Perhaps because he got away with it, and profited so handsomely from it, for so long.

He's just a human shit fountain.

But he finally crossed a line that not even the reptile-brain-trust Fox News crowd would cross, because they at least know (or have lawyers who occasionally remind them) that there are limits to what you can spew in public.

And as the old saying goes, the mills of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:08 AM on September 14, 2022 [9 favorites]

Here's hoping Exlax Jones get his comeuppance.

But I can't help but question this complete faith in the retributive powers of our justice system when we can plainly see the injustice of recent decisions like the appointment of a special master in the case involving the classified documents illegally held at Mar-A-Lago.
posted by viborg at 7:45 AM on September 14, 2022

No, this is Norm Patti's, a long-time InfoWars friend. The attorney who made The Big Oopsie was Reynal in TX.
posted by Scattercat at 7:48 AM on September 14, 2022

Today had the plaintiffs putting Free Speech Systems rep Brittany Paz on the stand, to testify about the business side of matters, such as how much money there is in selling snake oil and how, contrary to the arguments made by Team Alex to justify why they said "fuck discovery" for a second time, they were looking at the engagement numbers to sell advertising.

Also, we learned that Jones pockets all the crypto donations that InfoWars gets, and on the show proper, the guests were encouraging Jones to go pro se - something that will never happen, but would be glorious if it did.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:42 PM on September 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

Alex Jones Oversaw ‘Spy Ring’ Surveilling Ex-Wife and Current Wife: Texts from Jones' phone allegedly show he keeps a GPS tracker on his wife's car and has monitored her whereabouts and his ex-wife's at all times, for years."
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:24 PM on September 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

No, this is Norm Patti's, a long-time InfoWars friend. The attorney who made The Big Oopsie was Reynal in TX.

Pattis asleep in court this morning
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:09 PM on September 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Pattis was also tweeting during the trial.

I thought "don't piss off the judge" was something you learn as a 1L?
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:20 PM on September 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

Today saw continued testimony from Paz, with Mattei (the plaintiff's counsel) using her to show how InfoWars routinely enabled hoaxers in order to push their brand. Of note was the discovery that, contrary to arguments by Team Alex, InfoWars did use Google Analytics.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:36 PM on September 15, 2022

And Jones decides to engage in a little light anti-semitism with regards to the judge.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:59 PM on September 15, 2022

But I can't help but question this complete faith in the retributive powers of our justice system when we can plainly see the injustice of recent decisions like the appointment of a special master in the case involving the classified documents illegally held at Mar-A-Lago.

I cannot speak for the entire thread, but I would not count my faith in the justice system as 'complete'. It's just that I can see Alex Jones slowly going under the metaphorical Wheels of Justice. I simultaneously believe that the justice system routinely allows unjust outcomes, and also that there's evidence of Alex Jones being slowly ground into fine dust.
posted by Merus at 5:59 PM on September 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

Not sure he'd grind to a fine dust. I think you'd end up with a sticky, viscous paste.
posted by flabdablet at 9:49 AM on September 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

It appears the bankruptcy judge in Texas is taking the "trust" part of "trustee in bankruptcy" to its logical conclusion...

Elizabeth Williamson this evening:

BIG setback for Alex Jones in his bankruptcy case--federal bk Judge Christopher Lopez in Houston has tossed out both Jones's lawyer AND his chief restructuring officer. Judge cites transparency issues, incl personal expenses by Jones...


Judge now expanding the power of DoJ's Subchapter V trustee to run Jones's business, citing a "lack of candor in this case." Wow.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:11 PM on September 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

And we kick today off with Jones himself on the stand.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:12 AM on September 22, 2022

Today was...not a good day on the stand for Jones. Also, if there was anyone who could get Col. Jessup'd on the stand, it's this guy.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:10 PM on September 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

And in his morning press conference, Jones points out how hard plaintiff's counsel owned him.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:36 AM on September 23, 2022

So, we're back for the next week of the trial. Of note is that Pattis has insinuated that he may not call Jones as a witness, for rather obvious reasons after his last time on the stand. The plaintiffs are continuing with having the families testify.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:41 AM on September 27, 2022

I've dipped in and out of the coverage, but the testimony from the various families has been beyond sad to hear.

This morning's thread from Elizabeth Williamson:

The jury is seated and Robbie Parker has returned to the stand. Yesterday was heartbreaking; the Parkers, personally targeted by Jones, a key to this case.


Robbie Parker relays a 2016 incident: a man approached him in Seattle, calling him a "piece of shit..."How do you fucking sleep at night, you fucking piece of shit?" Robbie is weeping. "How much money did you get from the fucking government, you fucking asshole?" the man said.


These stories are juxtaposed with Infowars videos in which Jones and lackey Rob Dew call Robbie a method actor and his press conference about his daughter "disgusting." Two jurors are shaking their heads. At least one is crying.

Also, from Morgan Stringer: The Parkers moved across the country. Robbie was afraid to search for jobs because of what may come up when Googled. He wanted to be part of a group where they studied childhood trauma and grief. But he did not want the group to be targeted by harassers bc of his association.


Excellent point by Parker here! He says that the harassment came in waves and coincided with whenever Alex Jones talked about it!

Williamson was on the Knowledge Fight podcast the other day and she said something interesting, which was that the jurors from the Texas damages trial that she spoke to, regardless of their political beliefs and whatnot, were disgusted with the cavalier way in which Jones didn't bother showing up to his own trial most days, and when he did, turned it into a circus.

The jurors, by contrast, had to put their lives on hold, take unpaid time off work, etc., while being mocked by a defendant who couldn't be arsed to show up unless compelled by the court.

His conduct in the CT trial has been even more egregious (if that's possible), and the jury in this trial (who also have to put their lives on hold to do jury duty and watch Jones literally try to shill his bullshit supplements from the stand, as noted above) seems genuinely affected by what they've heard from the families.

And apparently Pattis has been passing on cross-examining various family members, including Parker. Which seems to be a gesture of surrender to the emotional weight of their testimony. Pattis may be a total piece of shit, but I guess he's got some instinct for self-preservation.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:38 AM on September 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

So it's down to closing arguments, and arguments about jury instruction were heard yesterday.

Now this closing arguments clown show...

Elizabeth Williamson: "Pattis is going to play a --19-minute?!--Jones broadcast. Remember who's running Pattis's remarks today: Jones, who has demanded all along that broadcasts where he lies about Sandy Hook be played in their entirety. Who claims he's been "edited" when criticized"

Morgan Stringer: "Norm is trying to redpill the jury. That's what this is. There is no other purpose for this."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:40 AM on October 6, 2022 [2 favorites]

Almost a month to the day this thread was posted, the jury in CT has returned their verdict.

Preliminary info from Morgan Stringer:

"The jury in Connecticut has assessed $964.9 million dollars against Alex Jones and Free Speech Systems. There will also be a hearing on attorneys fees and costs in November and argument will be heard on awarding further punitive damages.


They will argue about the award of punitive damages under CUTPA in November. Punitive CUTPA damages, if awarded, are awarded by the court and uncapped unlike defamation and IIED alone in CT. This verdict was just for compensatory and if attorneys fees should be granted."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:03 PM on October 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

Speech is free - the lies you pay for.

Today's InfoWars broadcast is going to be on fire, much like a burning dumpster.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:07 PM on October 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

And tomorrow, InfoWars is going to be a Spirit Halloween store.
posted by Etrigan at 1:16 PM on October 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

From The Guardian (credited to AP): Alex Jones ordered to pay Sandy Hook families $965m for hoax claims:
He called the proceedings a “kangaroo court”, mocked the judge, called the plaintiffs’ lawyer an ambulance chaser and labeled the case an affront to free speech rights. He claimed it was a conspiracy by Democrats and the media to silence him and put him out of business.

“I’ve already said ‘I’m sorry’ hundreds of times and I’m done saying I’m sorry,” he said during his testimony.

Twenty children and six adults died in the shooting on 14 December 2012. The defamation trial was held at a courthouse in Waterbury, about 20 miles (32km) from Newtown, where the attack took place.

The lawsuit accused Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, of using the mass killing to build his audience and make millions of dollars. Experts testified that Jones’ audience swelled when he made Sandy Hook a topic on the show, as did his revenue from product sales.

In both the Texas lawsuit and the one in Connecticut, judges found the company liable for damages by default after Jones failed to cooperate with court rules on sharing evidence, including failing to turn over records that might have showed whether Infowars had profited from knowingly spreading misinformation about mass killings.
posted by kristi at 1:43 PM on October 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

Vice actually has a pretty good rundown here:

Jones and Infowars lost a series of civil lawsuits by default in both Texas and Connecticut after judges in both states ruled that the company failed to meaningfully respond to discovery. Jones’ attorney, Norm Pattis, attempted to make much of the fact that the plaintiffs didn’t have information and documents they were entitled to and that his side simply refused to give them, to little avail.

In the Connecticut trial, the Sandy Hook families spent hours on the stand describing their loved ones, often in tears, and the continued hell that was wrought on them when the conspiracy theories about their deaths began. One family, for example, described their daughter discovering a letter that had been sent in which a hoaxer described desecrating her brother’s grave, and one parent described being told her child had never existed at a conference for mothers who’d lost their children to gun violence.

The families’ attorneys, using internal Infowars data and testimony from employees, convincingly drew a direct line between Jones’ lies and his profit, demonstrating his audience spiked when he talked about Sandy Hook and that these spikes directly correlated to increases in the sales of various products that are Infowars’ real business.


On Infowars, Jones immediately begain ranting about the verdict the moment it was read, calling it a “joke” and saying it was meant to “scare people” out of discussing other mass casualty events like the Parkland and Uvalde shootings. He promised to “keep them in court for years” on appeals before cutting to a commercial break.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:57 PM on October 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

Jones literally uses the verdict to fundraise, falsely claiming that bankruptcy will shield him.

What a ghoul.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:19 PM on October 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

What a ghoul.


From Erica Leslie Lafferty:

My name is Erica, I am the daughter of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, the principal of sandy hook school — and as I was testifying about the rape threats that were sent to me because of Alex Jones’ lies, he was on the steps of the courthouse holding a press conference spreading his hate and further pushing his dangerous agenda.

After almost a decade of threats and messages from conspiracy theorists lead by Jones, this is a moment years in the making. And in this big moment, like in every big moment since the shooting, I just wish I could call my mom and tell her about it.

I would tell her about the horror of watching Alex Jones hold court with press outside the courthouse.

The disappointment of watching so many news outlets who’ve known us since 12/14 run his words unfiltered. The heartbreak of reliving the shooting as so many families took the stand to share stories of their slain loved ones.

But I would also tell her about the bright spots.

News stations like @NBCConnecticut refused to give a platform to a dangerous conspiracy theorist. The jury bravely bore witness to our pain, sitting through hours of testimony that is unlikely to leave their minds anytime soon.

I wish I could tell my mom about all of this. I wish I could tell her about so many things that have happened since she was murdered. I will never stop missing her.

There's more to her statement at the link above. But yeah.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:50 PM on October 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

One of the more infuriating aspects of free speech "absolutism" has been the way its advocates would avert their eyes from the way speech could be used to harm others, because a lot of their arguments break on the idea that speech can enable harm. And it's worth noting it's that space that has helped enable people like Jones to thrive.

One of the things I've seen with these trials is that it has ripped away the facade - reading or listening to the families recounting the abuse they have suffered from Jones' lies makes the matter abundantly clear. It's also part of a larger push where these victims are now saying "we are not your 'collateral damage' anymore."
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:38 AM on October 13, 2022

And as if on cue, we have Lafferty responding to Representative, hypocrite, and altogether obnoxious individual Marjorie Taylor Greene pulling the "he just spoke words" argument.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:06 AM on October 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

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