Continuing his unbroken streak of losing lawsuits, Alex Jones has been found liable by default by a Connecticut judge in another defamation case brought against him by the parents of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school. The New York Times reported Monday that a judge ruled against Jones after he failed to respond to basic discovery requests, which also caused him to lose the prior Sandy Hook cases brought in Texas. Juries in both states are expected to decide next year how much he’ll have to pay in damages.
Jones and his Free Speech Systems, LLC, the parent company that owns InfoWars, were sued in a series of lawsuits in 2018. All of them were brought by parents whose children died at Sandy Hook. In all, Jones was sued by ten sets of parents in four separate cases over comments he made on air about Sandy Hook; Jones repeatedly claimed that the Sandy Hook shootings were a “giant hoax” orchestrated to advance a gun control agenda. The Hartford Courant reported that in issuing her default judgement, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis said Jones and his attorneys had shown “callous disregard of their obligation” to respond to discovery, including turning over financial records. The ruling means that a jury will now only decide damages and the case will not advance to a civil trial.
Jones and InfoWars scrubbed much of what they said about the Sandy Hook shootings from their website and videos after the backlash to his comments began to grow; a search on InfoWars.com today turns up no results for the phrase “Sandy Hook.” (However, a site-specific Google search for InfoWars turns up many of the outlet’s previous Sandy Hook stories.)
In a 2020 court filing, an attorney for Jones said he no longer believed the shootings were a hoax. But Media Matters helpfully collected the lowlights of what Jones said on-air for years prior to that: in 2013 he called the shooting “staged,” adding, “It’s got inside job written all over it.” In 2014, he added, “I’ve looked at it and undoubtedly there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying, and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it.”
Jones has a long-established habit of declaring that mass shootings and other mass casualty events are staged by the government or the New World Order. He previously made that claim about the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. It was only in the case of the Sandy Hook shootings, however, that those statements began to catch up with him in a legal sense.
Jones responded to the news of his latest defeat in his usual fashion: a breaking news update on his website declared that a “Deep State-controlled court” had denied him a trial by jury. In his daily live broadcast, he steered away from discussing the court ruling rather quickly and moved on to fear-mongering about COVID vaccines.
“People are waking up,” he declared, rather unconvincingly, referring to the general state of affairs in the United States. “The globalists are losing. We’re actually winning right now.”
Moments later though, he returned to the Sandy Hook cases: “The cases themselves are fraudulent,” Jones declared. He added that he was being treated unfairly in the Sandy Hook cases and claimed he wouldn’t even be allowed to present when the jury determined damages. “It’s a joke. It’s all a joke. It never happens.”
He was, added, “ashamed that we live in a country that is absolutely full of people that will do anything for power.” Jones then claimed that gun control groups have raised millions of dollars “off the backs of the dead Sandy Hook children.”
Las Vegas attorney Marc Randazza is the closest thing Jones and InfoWars have to an unofficial corporate counsel. Randazza has represented Jones as lead counsel in several cases, although not the Sandy Hook ones, and has known Jones for years. In an August conversation with Motherboard, Randazza said that Jones is “tired of being lied about” in the press, and stopped claiming Sandy Hook was a hoax years ago. “It’s been years since he retracted the statements. He in no way has continued to say this,” Randazza told Motherboard at the time. He also added, “Say what you will about his politics, you don’t have to like them. But he sincerely believes that what he’s doing is good for his country.”
In an email to Motherboard today, Randazza also said, “If a journalist wanted to actually do journalism about this case, she should take almost any ruling by this judge in this case, change the name of the defendant, and ask any lawyer if that judge had afforded that defendant anything resembling due process.” No one immediately responded to a request for comment sent to InfoWars.
Update, 5:20 P.M. EST:
On Monday afternoon, Jones issued a video statement denouncing the lawsuits as an attack by "globalists" who he claimed now control the American judiciary system. Jones also disputed the court's contention that he had not responded to discovery requests, claiming he'd turned over “thousands” of documents in both the Texas and Connecticut cases.
In court documents filed Monday, Jones’ attorneys objected to the scope of what was requested for discovery in the Connecticut case, calling it a “fishing expedition.” They also claimed that they wouldn’t be able to produce some of the web analytics data requested in discovery that would have been used by the plaintiffs to try to prove that Jones profited from making false claims about the Sandy Hook shootings. In a filing, attorneys Jay Wolman of Randazza Legal Group and Norman Pattis, a longtime free speech lawyer for Jones, wrote, “Defendants have nothing to hide. Mr. Jones and Infowars were deplatformed by YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, preventing them from searching for and producing documents they were asked to produce in this matter.”
In her default judgment ruling, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Bellis had said that Jones, InfoWars and Free Speech Systems only turned over "“sanitized, inaccurate” financial documents and did not produce other items requested in discovery.