Conspiracy theoristhe asked Wednesday that he now realizes that it was irresponsible for him to declare that the massacre of Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax and that he now believes that it was “100% true.”
Speaking a day after the parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the 2012 attack testified aboutthey have won because of what Jones has trumpeted on his media platforms, the host Infowars said the Texas courtroom that he definitely thinks the attack happened.
“Especially since I met the parents. It’s 100% true,” Jones said at his trial to determine how much he and his media company, Free Speech Systems, owe Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis for defamation . Her son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 students and six educators killed in the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, which was the deadliest school shooting in American history.
But Heslin and Lewis said Tuesday that an apology is not enough and that Jones must be held accountable for repeatedly spreading lies about the attack. They are seeking at least $150 million.
Jones told the jury that any compensation over $2 million will “go underground,” but added: “I think it’s appropriate for whatever you decide what you want to do.”
Testimony concluded around noon and closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday evening.
Jones is the only person to testify in his own defense. His attorney asked him if he now realizes that it was “completely irresponsible” to push 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 it has been “printed because there is somebody who runs around talking about Sandy Hook, who makes money from Sandy Hook, who is obsessed with Sandy Hook.”
Under relentless cross-examination from attorney Mark Bankston, Jones acknowledged his history of raising conspiracy claims in connection with other mass tragedies, from the Marathon bombings in Oklahoma City and Boston to mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.
Bankston then went after Jones’ credibility, showing an Infowars video clip from last week where a host – not Jones – claimed the trial was rigged and featured a photo of the judge in flames. Then came another clip of Jones asking if the jury was chosen from a group of people “who don’t know what planet” they live on. Jones said he didn’t mean that part literally.
Bankston said Jones did not comply with court orders to provide text messages and emails for pretrial evidence gathering. Jones said, “I don’t use email,” then showed one collected from another source that came from his email address. He replied: “I have to dictate that.”
At one point, Bankston informed Jones that his attorneys had mistakenly sent Bankston the last two years of texts from Jones’ cell phone.
The attorney also showed the court an email from an Infowars business officer informing Jones that the company had earned $800,000 gross from selling its products in one day, which equated to nearly $300 million a year. Jones said that was the company’s best sales day.
Jones’ testimony came a day after Heslin and Lewis told the courtroom in Austin, where Jones and his companies are based, that Jones and the false claim that he and Infowars made their lives.online abuse and harassment.
They led a day of accused testimony on Tuesday that included the judge scolding the bombastic Jones for not being true to some of the things he said under oath.
In a moving exchange, Lewis spoke directly to Jones, who was sitting about 10 feet away. Earlier that day, Jones was on his radio show telling his listeners that Heslin is “slow” and being manipulated by bad people.
“I’m a mother first and I know you’re a father. My son there,” Lewis told Jones. “I’m not in a deep state … I know you know that … And yet you’re going to leave this courthouse and say it again on your show.”
At one point, Lewis asked Jones: “Do you think I’m an actor?”
“I don’t think you’re an actor,” Jones replied before the judge allowed him to remain silent until he was called to testify.
Heslin and Lewis are among several Sandy Hook families who have filed a lawsuit alleging that the false Sandy Hook claims pushed by Jones have led to years of abuse by him and his followers.
“What was said about me and Sandy Hook itself resonates around the world,” said Heslin. “As time went on, I truly realized how dangerous it was.”
Jones turned down Heslin’s testimony Tuesday morning while on his show – a move Heslin dismissed as “cowardly” – but came to the courtroom as part of Scarlett Lewis’s testimony. He was accompanied by several private security guards.
“Today is very important to me and it’s been a long time coming … to confront Alex Jones for what he said and did to me. To restore my son’s honor and legacy,” said Heslin when Jones wasn’t there.
Heslin told the jury about sustaining a bullet hole through his head, even describing the extent of the damage to his son’s body. Central to the case is the 2017 Infowars broadcast that said Heslin did not possess his son.
In 2017, Heslin went on television, he told CBS News, to directly address the Sandy Hook deniers. “I lost my son. I buried my son. I held my son with a bullet hole through his head,” he said.
After that, the harassment only got worse, Heslin said.
“I have had many death threats,”. “People say, ‘You should be the one with a bullet hole in your head.'”
The jury was shown a school picture of a smiling Jesse taken two weeks before he was killed. The parents didn’t get the photo until after the shooting. They described how Jesse was known for telling the students to “run!” which probably saved people.
Jones took the stand later Tuesday and was initially confrontational with the judge, who asked him to answer a question from his own attorney. Jones indicated that he had long wanted to apologize to the plaintiffs.
Later, the judge sent the jury out of the room and strongly scolded Jones for telling the jury that he was complying with the collection of pre-trial evidence even though he was not and that he is bankrupt, which has not been decided. Plaintiffs’ attorneys were furious with Jones when he said he’s bankrupt, which they worry will sway the jury’s decisions on damages.
“This is not your show,” said Judge Maya Guerra Gamble Jones. “Your beliefs do not make something true. You are under oath.”
Last September, the judge admonished Jones in her default judgment for failing to hand over documents requested by the Sandy Hook families. A Connecticut court issued a similar default judgment against Jones on the same grounds in a separate lawsuit brought by other Sandy Hook parents.
The trial involves 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 his company will pay punitive damages.
Jones has already tried to financially protect Free Speech Systems. The company filed for federal bankruptcy protection last week. Sandy Hook families have sued Jones separately over his financial claims, arguing that the company is trying to protect the millions owned by Jones and his family through shell entities.