Alex Jones and Infowars Were Immediately Sanctioned 5 Minutes Into His Second Damages Trial

Failure to provide Google Analytics data proved to be a big, big problem for Jones’ side.

Alex Jones and Infowars' second damages trial began in Connecticut today with an immediate—and very significant—ruling against them. Judge Barbara Bellis, who’s presiding over the case, ruled that because Jones and Infowars did not turn over Google Analytics data about the company’s traffic to the plaintiffs, they will not be allowed to make any arguments that they didn’t significantly profit from their Sandy Hook coverage. Jones and other Infowars personalities repeatedly claimed, for years on end, that the 2012 mass shooting was a hoax, a position Jones has insisted he no longer holds. 

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This is the second damages trial for Jones and Infowars, who were found liable by default in a series of civil cases in Texas and Connecticut late last year. The default ruling means that this trial, like the previous one in Texas, is solely meant to determine the amount of damages Jones and the company will owe. The first trial, with a different set of plaintiffs, ended with Jones and Infowars being ordered to pay a total of $49.3 million in damages. The Connecticut plaintiffs are eight families whose children died at Sandy Hook and an FBI agent who responded to the scene.

As court proceedings got underway today, before the jury was brought in, plaintiffs’ attorney Alinor Sterling asked Bellis to grant sanctions against Jones and Infowars, saying they discovered a Google Analytics spreadsheet about Infowars traffic through June 2019 does exist, after the defendants claimed it didn’t. (Sterling said her legal team discovered the spreadsheet existed on Friday afternoon, apparently in reviewing a deposition, although that point was not totally clear.) 

Sterling called this part of a “sequence of misconduct” committed by Infowars, adding that it was “profoundly disturbing” and should result in what she called “significant sanctions.” Norm Pattis, a longtime attorney for Jones and Infowars, said he was “not happy” that Infowars hadn’t turned over the Google Analytics data, but he argued it was not relevant, and there was no evidence that Infowars had used this data to shape its on-air coverage. 

In making her sanctions ruling, Judge Bellis said that Jones and Infowars had a “stunningly cavalier attitude with respect to their discovery obligations,” and said they had “consistently engaged in dilatory and obstructive discovery practices”; discovery refers to the documents they were legally required to turn over to the other side. Bellis said that attitude led, in part, to the default judgement against them. She ruled that Jones and Infowars won’t be allowed to argue they didn’t significantly profit from Sandy Hook coverage; that will likely represent a significant blow to their attempts to limit the amount of damages the company will have to pay. 

The trial is expected to last for four to five weeks, through mid-October. In the last trial, Jones and Infowars covered every development at length on air, making a series of outrageous claims about the court proceedings and the Texas judge, something they will almost surely not be able to resist doing again. Jones was not present in the courtroom as the Connecticut trial began. 

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alex jones damages trial, alex jones connecticut damages trial, conspiracy theories, Infowars, defamation, sandy hook, sandy hook conspiracy theories

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