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Alex Jones - Infowars host held in contempt of court for skipping Sandy Hook deposition

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Megan Sheets ,Oliver O'Connell
Wednesday 30 March 2022 22:29 BST
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Alex Jones on his show on 12 December, 2021
Alex Jones on his show on 12 December, 2021 (The Alex Jones Show)

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The years-long legal battle between far-right conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones and the families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook massacre continued today with Mr Jones being held in contempt of court.

Mr Jones was found guilty of defamation in multiple lawsuits last year after he falsely said the 2012 school shooting that left 26 dead was “a giant hoax”. The cases are now headed to jury trials to determine damages.

The legal proceedings were thrust back into the spotlight last week when Mr Jones failed to appear twice for a deposition that he had sought to delay because he was too sick to attend — despite the fact that he continued hosting his Infowars show.

At issue in today’s virtual hearing - which took place at 2pm EST - wss the plaintiffs’ motion to hold Mr Jones in contempt of court for dodging the deposition.

Hours before the hearing, Mr Jones offered to settle the cases by giving a “heartfelt apology” and $120,000 payout per plaintiff. That offer was rejected by the families.

Judge Barbara Bellis found him in contempt today and issued a $25,000 per day fine until he sits for two days of deposition in Connecticut, upon which the fines will be refunded.

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Alex Jones gears up for virtual hearing on motion to hold him in contempt

Alex Jones is slated to appear at a virtual hearing today at 2pm EST regarding a motion to hold him in contempt of court for skipping out on a deposition twice last week.

Two days before he was set to testify under oath last week on 23 March, Mr Jones’ lawyers made a last-ditch attempt to delay by claiming he was too sick to attend due to unnamed “medical conditions” and that doctors had advised him to remain at home.

A judge turned down the requests, in part because he was seemingly well enough to continue broadcasting his hours-long show - leaving his home on at least one occasion to travel to his studio to film it.

He subsequently defied court orders by failing to show up for the original deposition and a rescheduled one, prompting attorneys for the Sandy Hook victims’ families to ask the judge to find him in contempt and have him arrested.

Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis is set to hear arguments on that motion at today’s hearing.

Megan Sheets30 March 2022 17:27
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Jones extends 11th-hour settlement offer

Hours before today’s scheduled court hearing, Mr Jones extended an offer to settle the defamation lawsuits with a “heartfelt apology” and $120,000 payout to each plaintiff.

“It’s time for the litigation to end,” Mr Jones’s attorney Norm Pattis told Law&Crime. “The shooting took place almost 10 years ago.”

Lawyers for the families quickly shut down the offer, telling the Associated Press on Tuesday the settlement was a “transparent and desperate attempt by Alex Jones to escape a public reckoning under oath with his deceitful, profit-driven campaign against the plaintiffs and the memory of their loved ones lost at Sandy Hook.”

The Independent’s Josh Marcus has more:

Megan Sheets30 March 2022 17:32
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Jones’ lawyers say deposition would be ‘grueling’

Lawyers for Mr Jones made their case for why he should not be held in contempt in a court filing on 28 March, arguing that sitting for the deposition would cause him “significant stress” and accusing the plaintiffs of “blatantly” asking the judge to overrule his doctors.

Mr Jones’ attorney Norman Pattis cited the coronavirus pandemic in stressing the importance of trusting doctors - something Mr Jones has balked at in the past as he repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the virus and doubted the reliability of vaccines on his Infowars show.

“Here, the Plaintiffs have blatantly asked the Court to substitute its judgment for that of Mr. Jones’ doctors. They have publicly made a pseudo-macho challenge as to Mr. Jones’ courage in the media that has sullied this litigation, publicly accusing him of cowardice for ultimately listening to his doctors.”

The Independent’s Megan Sheets reports:

Alex Jones says Sandy Hook deposition would be ‘grueling’ as he fights arrest calls

Far-right conspiracy theorist urges judge to listen to his doctors after he claimed he was too sick to appear for deposition

Megan Sheets30 March 2022 17:45
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Jones hits back at calls for his arrest

Mr Jones defended himself against the plaintiffs’ efforts to have him arrested in a pre-recorded video on his Infowars website last Thursday - the same day he said he was too unwell to attend the second deposition date.

Titled “Sandy Hook mafia calls for Alex Jones’ arrest: Legendary talk show host responds”, he claimed he was being treated worse than death row prisoners.

“Somebody on death row is allowed to go get their medical treatment and hearings and things are postponed but I’m treated worse than somebody on death row,” he said.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp reports:

Alex Jones says he is treated worse than people on death row after dodging deposition

Far-right conspiracy theorist failed to show up for depositions twice this week in lawsuits over his false claims that Sandy Hook was a ‘giant hoax’

Megan Sheets30 March 2022 18:00
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Plaintiffs call for ‘penalties and sanctions’ on Jones

The plaintiffs have reacted to Mr Jones’ response to the motion to hold him in contempt of court for not appearing at his depositions.

The “Reply in support of motion for finding of civil contempt, issuance of orders to secure Alex Jones’s attendance at deposition, and issuance of furth sanctions orders”, begins:

Alex Jones’s strategy of obfuscation and delay tactics is now all too familiar territory. His refusal to fairly produce evidence in this case has already resulted in profound prejudice to the plaintiffs and a default. His refusal to be deposed is a new version of the same evasive and unfair litigation tactics. And once again, his refusal to follow the rules of discovery defies the Court’s authority, burdens the court system, prejudices the plaintiffs, and benefits him and his codefendant companies. Alex Jones is in contempt of court, and the Court should enter penalties and sanctions accordingly.

Read the full document here.

Oliver O'Connell30 March 2022 18:20
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ICYMI: Jones says he is treated worse than people on death row

Alex Jones has claimed he is being “treated worse than somebody on death row” in a video rant as he faces calls to be arrested for twice dodging a deposition in a lawsuit over his false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre.

Rachel Sharp reports.

Alex Jones says he is treated worse than people on death row after dodging deposition

Far-right conspiracy theorist failed to show up for depositions twice this week in lawsuits over his false claims that Sandy Hook was a ‘giant hoax’

Oliver O'Connell30 March 2022 18:47
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Hearing in session in Connecticut

The hearing is underway in Waterbury, Connecticut.

As Judge Barbara Bellis deals with some housekeeping items, it is of note that Mr Jones is currently live on Infowars presenting his show.

Oliver O'Connell30 March 2022 19:04
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The argument today is only on sanctions requested by Sandy Hook plaintiffs for Alex Jones failing to appear at his scheduled depositions.

The plaintiff’s attorney Christopher Mattei says they have no new evidence.

Mr Jones’ attorney says they need more time to prepare.

Oliver O'Connell30 March 2022 19:10
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Plaintiff’s counsel says the orders were clear and direct and Mr Jones and his counsel were aware of the depositions and he chose not to attend demonstrating willful defiance.

Mr Jones also broadcast in apparent defiance of his supposed doctor’s orders.

Plaintiff’s counsel wants the court to set conditions to coerce him to sit for a deposition. These could include incarceration or fines for non-appearance or refusal to abide by a court order to be deposed.

Oliver O'Connell30 March 2022 19:17
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Cameron Atkinson, Mr Jones’ attorney, says that his client’s doctor thought his situation was so serious that he needed to go to an emergency room.

There does not appear to be any evidence submitted to support this claim as Judge Bellis is pointing out.

Mr Atkinson says he does not believe his client should be held in contempt but asks that if he is that no arrest warrant should be issued given his client’s health problems in case they are exacerbated.

He reiterates that his client recognises that he needs to sit for a deposition in this case.

Oliver O'Connell30 March 2022 19:28

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