Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed in the school massacre, confronted Infowars fabulist Alex Jones in court and scolded him for his lies.
In Austin, Texas, On Tuesday, a Sandy Hook mother confronted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in a courtroom about the damage his lies about the school shooting that murdered her son had done to her family and the public conversation. The confrontation lasted 90 agonizing minutes.
“Our world needs truth so badly. Jesse Lewis’ mother Scarlett Lewis reminded Mr. Jones that “truth is what we base our reality on, and we have to agree on that to have a civil society,” referring to the 20 first graders and six educators killed in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
She stared at him while he fidgeted at the defense table and added, “You know that’s not true.” Mr. Jones had questioned the events at Sandy Hook. When you say things like that, there are certain people on the fringe of society who think you’re dangerous.
Sandy Hook’s family and the Infowars fabulist, who has been broadcasting misinformation about the shooting and the families as “actors” for years, had been in court disputes for years. Even though he was found liable in a series of defamation claims brought by the relatives of 10 victims, Mr. Jones, who constantly berated the families on broadcast, has rarely appeared in the same room as them.
The first of three trials in which juries will decide how much Mr. Jones must pay for defaming the families involves Ms. Lewis and Neil Heslin, Jesse’s father. Mr. Jones has tended to avoid court appearances on a regular basis. However, when he prepared to speak in his defense, he found himself face-to-face with Ms. Lewis, who addressed him directly throughout her testimony.
As she locked her focus on his, Ms. Lewis stated, “Alex, I want you to hear this.” The United States is now more polarized than ever before.” In some ways, that’s your fault.” Mr. Jones shook his head in a worried manner.
As soon as Mr. Jones claimed that Sandy Hook was a “false flag” operation, the relatives of the victims have been subjected to years of threats and torture from the government.
By pitching conspiracy theories to millions of people who tune in to his radio and internet show, Mr. Jones has earned more than $50 million a year in sales of diet supplements, gun paraphernalia, body armor, and doomsday survivalist gear. The Lewis family is suing for $150 million in damages on behalf of their son, Jesse. In an interview on Tuesday, Ms. Lewis added, “I aspire to achieve an era of truth.”
The trial is centered on an episode of NBC’s “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” from June 2017 in which Ms. Kelly profiled Mr. Jones. The trial is slated to finish this week. When Mr. Jones claimed that the shooting never happened, Mr. Heslin objected to his denial of it on the broadcast. “I held my son with a bullet wound in his skull,” he said, recalling his final moments with Jesse. Mr. Jones and a sidekick, Owen Shroyer, hinted on Infowars that Mr. Heslin was lying after the event.
On Tuesday, Mr. Heslin took the stand first. As tears streamed down his cheeks, the father recalled his son as an active youngster with a booming voice who enjoyed working with his father to collect scrap metal and recyclables for extra cash. After entering Jesse’s classroom, the assailant shouted “Run!” before beginning to shoot. A total of nine youngsters made it out of the woods alive.
Attempts to contact Mr. Heslin through phone, confrontation, and shoving on the street, according to conspiracy theorists. Someone shot at his house and car with a rifle. Someone shouted “Alex Jones! Alex Jones!” and he heard gunfire, he claimed this spring.
Mr. Heslin referred to Mr. Jones’s absence from the defense table as a “cowardly conduct.”
He went on to say, “The words and sentiments made by both Infowars and Alex Jones have damaged Jesse’s legacy.
Jones was broadcasting his show when Mr. Heslin was giving his testimony. Afterward, after hearing Mr. Heslin’s testimony on YouTube, he labeled the bereaved father “slow,” and said that he had been the victim of “some very evil individuals.”
Mr. Jones appeared in court an hour later, flanked by his wife and a large group of security. Mr. Heslin was awaited by Ms. Lewis, who had seen the broadcast attacking Mr. Heslin during a break in her evidence.
“It’s been difficult for me to find the right words to express myself today. She informed Mr. Jones, “I’m flabbergasted, in a horrible way.” “Horrific. Horrific. Horrific.”
Following Ms. Lewis’ testimony, Mr. Jones stated that he had made numerous attempts to apologise.
Later, Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble chastised him for lying under oath while testifying. Although Mr. Jones’ bankruptcy case has not yet been adjudicated, he told the jury that he was “bankrupt” in an attempt to avoid future trials, according to the families’ lawyers. Also, he claimed he had followed court directions in the defamation claims, when in fact his inability to produce records and testimony was the reason he lost them all.
“You are sworn in. That implies whatever you say must be true,” Judge Guerra Gamble explained to Mr. Jones. To this she replied: “Don’t talk,” and he tried to respond.
Mr. Jones approached Mr. Heslin and Ms. Lewis after the judge had left the courtroom and shook their hands. Mr. Jones erupted in rage, accusing the parents of being “managed” as their lawyers whisked them away.