Judge Immediately Sanctions Alex Jones During Sandy Hook Defamation Trial

0
980

On Tuesday, Alex Jones faced court sanctions on the first day of his second trial related to lies he told about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which took place in Connecticut in 2012.

Judge Barbara N. Bellis, who was overseeing the Connecticut proceedings after a federal bankruptcy judge declined a request from Jones’s corner to move the entire case into bankruptcy court, criticized the repeated failures by Jones and his defense to appropriately comply with the requirements of the discovery process, meaning the portion of the proceedings in which relevant materials are assembled. According to an attorney for the plaintiffs in the Connecticut proceedings against Jones, the conspiracy theorist’s team repeatedly denied the existence of a Google Analytics file covering audience traffic to the website of InfoWars, a far-right, conspiracy theory-driven media outlet with Jones at the helm. Alinor Sterling, a lawyer for the plaintiffs dealing with the matter in court Tuesday, insisted there was “no possible way there was a lack of understanding of the importance of this evidence,” but the materials weren’t produced — even by early this Tuesday.

Bellis subsequently granted an entreaty from the plaintiffs’ side for a block on any claims from Jones that he didn’t profit from Sandy Hook coverage. “I’ll make the following observation,” the judge said. “This stunningly cavalier attitude with respect to their discovery obligations is what led to the default in the first place.” Jones was found at fault after failing to comply with discovery requirements, and the Connecticut proceedings simply concern the level of financial damages to impose. “The defendants have consistently engaged in dilatory and obstructive discovery practices from the inception of these cases right through to the trial. And finally, I will note there is no notice in this file to this minute of any supplemental compliance producing the Google Analytic documents, which is required by the practice book, but was also required by my clear court order of September 30, 2021, which apparently was not followed here.”

“The court hereby sanctions the defendants by precluding them from presenting evidence or argument that they did not profit from the Sandy Hook coverage,” the judge added. Check out her remarks below:

Jones questioned the reality of the shooting, and family members of victims of the original incident have faced disturbing and potentially dangerous confrontations with apparent believers of the lies Jones told. In a recently concluded trial in Texas, one Sandy Hook parent described how a stranger showed up to a family home on Christmas one year and began taking pictures. The idea was that family members of victims of the shooting were actually actors. As summarized in The New York Times, the Connecticut plaintiffs’ side’s contentions were that the disputed Google Analytics info could provide critical details about the connection between visits to the InfoWars website and purchases from its store, which would connect coverage on the website to financial benefits for Jones. (One of the original claims is under a piece of Connecticut state law known as the Unfair Trade Practices Act.) It seems withholding the Google Analytics document — which Jones’s defense claimed he didn’t consult for his Sandy Hook coverage — would undercut the ability of the plaintiffs to formulate their own arguments regarding Jones profiting off his coverage.