Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said Wednesday that he now understands that it was irresponsible of him to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax and that he now believes it was “100% real,” one day After the parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the attack testified about the suffering, death threats and harassment they endured as a result of what Jones had trumpeted on his media platforms.
“It was…especially since I met the parents. It’s 100% real,” Jones testified at his trial to establish how much he owes for slandering the parents of a 6-year-old who was among 20 students and six educators killed in the 2012 attack on the School killed in Newtown, Connecticut.
But the parents who sued Jones said a day earlier that an apology would not be enough and that the Infowars host must be held accountable for repeatedly spreading untruths about the attack. They are aiming for at least $150 million.
Closing arguments are expected to begin later Wednesday following further testimony from Jones, who has portrayed the lawsuit as an attack on his First Amendment rights.
Jones is the only person to testify in defense of himself and his media company, Free Speech Systems. His lawyer asked him if he now understood that it was “absolutely irresponsible” to spread the false claims that the massacre did not happen and that no one died.
Jones said he does, but added, “They (the media) won’t let me take it back.”
He also complained that he was “typified as someone who goes around talking about Sandy Hook, makes money off Sandy Hook, is obsessed with Sandy Hook.”
Jones’ testimony came a day after Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was killed in the attack, testified that Jones and the false claims circulated by Jones and his Infowars website made their life a “living hell”. made of death threats. Abuse and Harassment on the Internet.
They conducted a day of charged testimony on Tuesday, with the judge berating the bombastic Jones for not telling the truth with some of his testimonies under oath.
In a gripping exchange, Lewis spoke directly to Jones, who was seated about 10 feet away. Earlier that day, Jones was on his show telling his audience that Heslin was “slow” and manipulated by bad people.
“I am a mother first and I know you are a father. My son existed,” Lewis told Jones. “I’m not a Deep State … I know you know that … and yet you’re going to walk out of this courthouse and say it again on your show.”
At one point, Lewis Jones asked, “Do you think I’m an actor?”
“No, I don’t think you’re an actor,” Jones replied, before the judge warned him to be quiet until called to testify.
Heslin and Lewis are among several Sandy Hook families that have filed multiple lawsuits alleging that the Sandy Hook fraud claims made by Jones led to years of abuse by him and his followers.
Heslin and Lewis both said they feared for their lives and were confronted with strangers at home and on the street. Heslin said his home and car were shot at. The jury heard a death threat sent by phone message to another Sandy Hook family.
“I can’t even describe the last nine and a half years, the hell on earth I and others have endured because of Alex Jones’ recklessness and negligence,” Heslin said.
Scarlett Lewis also described threatening emails that seemed to have uncovered deep details of her personal life.
“It’s fear for your life,” Scarlett Lewis said. “You don’t know what they would do.”
Heslin said he doesn’t know if the Sandy Hook hoax conspiracy theory originated with Jones, but it was Jones who “lit the match and lit the fire” with an online platform and broadcast that reached millions worldwide.
“What’s been said about me and Sandy Hook resonates around the world,” Heslin said. “As time went on, I really realized how dangerous it was.”
Jones skipped Heslin’s testimony Tuesday morning while he was on his show – a move Heslin dismissed as “cowardly” – but came into the courtroom for part of Scarlett Lewis’ testimony. He was accompanied by several private security forces.
“Today is very important to me and it’s taken a long time … to face Alex Jones for what he said and did to me. To restore my son’s honor and legacy,” Heslin said when Jones was away.
Heslin told jurors he held his son with a bullet hole through the head and even described the extent of the damage to his son’s body. A key segment of the case is a 2017 Infowars broadcast that said Heslin failed to hold his son.
The jury was shown a school photo of a smiling Jesse taken two weeks before his death. The parents only received the photo after the shoot. They described how Jesse was known for telling classmates to “run!” which likely saved lives.
An apology from Jones would not be good enough, the parents said.
“Alex started this fight,” Heslin said, “and I’m going to finish this fight.”
Jones later took the witness stand and was initially combative with the judge, who had asked him to answer his own attorney’s question. Jones testified that he had wanted to apologize to the plaintiffs for a long time.
The judge later dismissed the jury from the room and vigorously berated Jones for telling the jury he complied with the pretrial hearing of evidence when he had not and that he was bankrupt, which has not yet been established. The plaintiffs’ attorneys were furious that Jones mentioned that he was bankrupt, which they believe will affect the jury’s decisions on damages.
“This isn’t your show,” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble told Jones. “Your beliefs make something wrong. You are under oath.”
Last September, in her default judgment, the judge reprimanded Jones for his failure to provide documents requested by the Sandy Hook families. A Connecticut court entered a similar default judgment against Jones for the same reasons in a separate lawsuit filed by other parents of Sandy Hook.
At stake in the trial is how much Jones will pay. The parents have asked the jury to award $150 million in damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury will then consider whether Jones and company pay punitive damages.
Jones has already attempted to protect Free Speech Systems financially. The company filed for federal bankruptcy protection last week. The Sandy Hook families have separately sued Jones over his financial claims, arguing that the company is attempting to protect millions of Jones and his family through shell companies.
Associated Press writer Paul J. Weber contributed to this report.
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https://6abc.com/sandy-hook-elementary-school-alex-jones-robb-uvalde/12095812/ Alex Jones concedes Sandy Hook attack was ‘100% real’