Sandy Hook mom confronts Alex Jones at trial

Austin, Texas. In a tumultuous 90 minutes in a courtroom Tuesday, a Sandy Hook mother confronted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones face-to-face with confusion, saying his lies about the mass shooting that killed her son have affected her family. about the national discourse.

“Truth – Truth is so vital to our world. Truth is what we base our reality on, and we have to come to terms with it in order to build a civil society,” Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse, 6, was among the 20 first-graders and six teachers killed in 2012. at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Newtown, Conn., told Mr. Jones from the witness stand.

Mr Jones questioned the events at Sandy Hook but “you know it’s not true”, she said, staring at him as he fidgeted at the defense table. “When you say those things, the fringes of society believe you, it’s actually dangerous.”

It was an extraordinary moment in the long-running legal battle between the families of Sandy Hook and the Infowars fabulist, who for years broadcast lies that the shooting was a government hoax and that the families were “actors” in the plot. Mr. Jones, who regularly berated the families on air, rarely appeared in the same room with them, even though he was found guilty in a series of defamation lawsuits brought by the families of 10 victims.

The trial, which involves Ms Lewis and Neil Heslin, Jesse’s father, is the first of three in which a jury will decide how much Mr Jones must pay for defaming the families. Mr. Jones usually avoided court appearances. But in a scheduling mishap, as he prepared to give evidence in his defence, he came face-to-face with Ms Lewis, who addressed him personally during her testimony.

“Alex, I want you to hear this,” said Mrs. Louis, fixing him in her gaze. “As a country, we are more polarized than ever before. Part of it is because of you. Mr. Jones shook his head nervously.

Sandy Hook families have endured years of torture and threats after Mr. Jones, hours after the shooting, described Sandy Hook as a “false flag” operation planned by the government as a pretext to confiscate Americans’ firearms.

Case records released during the trial show that Mr. Jones made more than $50 million a year selling dietary supplements, gun accessories, body armor and doomsday paraphernalia. Jesse Lewis’ parents are demanding $150 million in compensation. More important than money, Ms. Lewis said Tuesday, “I hope to usher in an era of truth.”

The trial, which is expected to end this week, is at the heart of the 2017 in June An episode of NBC’s “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” in which Ms. Kelly profiled Mr. Jones. On the broadcast, Mr. Heslin protested Mr. Jones’ denial of the shooting. He recalled his final moments with Jesse saying, “I was holding my son with a bullet through his head.” Mr. Jones and aide Owen Shroyer later informed Infowars that Mr. Heslin was lying.

Mr. Heslin was the first to testify on Tuesday. In a low voice and often pausing to cry, he described his son as an energetic boy with a great voice who liked to collect scrap metal and recyclables with his father, which he returned for money. When the gunman entered Jesse’s classroom, he yelled “Run!” during shooting pause. Nine children escaped and survived.

Mr Heslin said the conspiracy theorists tried to contact him by phone, tackled him and pushed him into the street. Someone fired a gun into his house and car. This spring, he said, someone drove by his house and yelled, “Alex Jones!” and heard the sound of gunshots.

Glancing at Mr Jones’ empty seat at the defense table, Mr Heslin called his absence “an act of cowardice”.

“The statements and comments made by Infowars and Alex Jones have tarnished Jesse’s legacy,” he added.

While Mr. Heslin testified, Mr. Jones was in another city doing his own show. After watching Mr Heslin’s testimony on the courtroom YouTube channel, he called the grieving father “slow” and “manipulated by very bad people”.

An hour later, Mr Jones appeared in court with his wife and a group of bodyguards. Ms Lewis, who had seen the broadcast of her defaming Mr Heslin during a break in her evidence, was waiting for him.

“It was hard for me to find the words today. It makes me feel stunned, in a bad way,” she told Mr Jones. “Horrible. Horrible. Horrible”.

Mr Jones testified after Ms Lewis, saying he had repeatedly tried to apologise.

Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble later admonished him for swearing in parts of his testimony. Mr. Jones told jurors he was “bankrupt” even though his bankruptcy petition has yet to be heard, a move lawyers for the families say is a tactic to avoid future trials. He also claimed to have complied with court orders in defamation cases, when in fact years of failure to produce documents and testimony were the reason he lost them all.

“You are sworn. It means that things have to actually be true when you say them,” Judge Guerra Gamble told Mr Jones. He tried to interject, but she stopped him, “Don’t talk.”

After the judge left the courtroom, Mr Jones approached Mr Heslin and Ms Lewis and shook their hands. Lawyers pushed them out and Mr Jones exploded with anger, claiming the parents were being “controlled”.

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