Infowars host Alex Jones was forced to answer for his years of spreading conspiracy theories as he took the stand this week in a defamation damages trial brought against him by the parents of a 6-year-old child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. The jury spent less than a day deliberating the case, awarding more than $4 million dollars in compensatory damages. Tomorrow the trial will continue to the punitive phase, with further awards possible.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Jones misled his audience of millions, telling them that the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre, which killed 20 children and six adult staff, was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the government to undermine gun ownership rights. For years, he claimed that “crisis actors” staged the attack. In 2018, multiple families of Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent who responded to the scene of the crime brought defamation charges against Jones and Infowars, alleging that his lies made them the target of harassment and violent threats.
On Oct. 1, 2021, a Texas judge found Jones liable for damages in three of these defamation lawsuits by default, after the Infowars host failed to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. The trial to determine damages in the first of these lawsuits that he lost, brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of victim Jesse Lewis, began July 26. They are seeking $150 million. Lewis directly addressed Jones in court before the conspiracy theorist took the stand.
In his testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday, a visibly uncomfortable and sweating Jones was repeatedly admonished by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble and brutally cross-examined by the parents’ lawyer, Mark Bankston. The Infowars host was confronted not just with his past statements about the Sandy Hook shootings, but also with remarks that he’d made about the judge, jury, and trial on his show earlier in the week.
Livestream clips from the trial have been viewed millions of times on social media. Here are some of the most-shared moments.