WATERBURY, Conn. — Day eight of the defamation trial of Alex Jones ended earlier than anticipated in Waterbury. Thursday saw testimony from the Infowars host grilled on lies about the Sandy Hook shooting.
Thursday was Jones' first day in court testifying although he had been in the state all week.
Alex Jones appeared in court but did not testify Friday. There are plans for him to come back next week when his defense attorney Norm Pattis can question him.
His defense team called it a strategic decision based on what happened in court Thursday. The plaintiff's attorney also said that they have also filed a new charge in connection to a testimony.
During the morning recess, Jones came out and explained why he was not testifying Friday and elaborated more on his thoughts on how court ended Thursday.
“In Norm Pattis’ words, Chris Mattei crapped the bed,” Jones said.
“The plaintiff’s lawyers just got completely out of control. Any other lawyer would have been arrested," Jones said. "My lawyer would have been arrested if he screamed for five minutes and ignored what the judge said.”
He added that testifying next week would also give him more chance to “have a little bit of room to put on my case.”
“It’s so restricted with what the judge said we can talk about there’s no point of getting up there and just being a mannequin so that’s what’s happening,” Jones said.
“Am I afraid of statements I say here may be used against me inside?” Jones added when asked. “No, I’m telling the truth here.”
As a result of Jones not testifying and rising concerns amongst counsel about what Jones said during his press conference during morning recess, the jury was dismissed as the lawyers and judge planned out how to go about the rest of the day.
Before dismissing the jurors for the day, the judge implored that the jury cannot do independent research and reminded them after she had a previous discussion with the council that Jones allegedly encouraged the jury to do research during his latest press conference.
Clinton Watts, an expert in internet analysis and social media who testified earlier this week, was initially expected to take the stand again Friday, but it is unclear when he will be scheduled to continue testimony.
On Wednesday, Jones hinted that he might invoke his right to remain silent to avoid perjuring himself. But he was anything but silent. At times, Jones looked angry, annoyed, uncomfortable and confused on the witness stand.
Judge Barbara Bellis began the day by going over the topics that Jones could not mention in his testimony: free speech rights; the Sandy Hook families' $73 million settlement this year with gun-maker Remington (the company that made the Bushmaster rifle used to kill the victims at Sandy Hook); the percentage of Jones' shows that discussed Sandy Hook; and whether he profited from those shows or a similar case in Texas.
“The First Amendment is not an issue in this hearing in damages, no one is going to ask you about the First Amendment, this is not the appropriate forum to offer that testimony,” the judge told Jones before he took the stand.
Plaintiff attorney Chris Mattei first reviewed how InfoWars has been covering the first seven days of the trial, with Jones’ website publishing clips of the trial on a new InfoWars webpage and creating graphics with edited photos of the judge.
The plaintiff brought up the 2019 lawsuit Jones filed against The Young Turks accusing him of “intentionally” sending child pornography to Sandy Hook parents.
Mattei tried to convey how an accusation of a felony would go viral on the internet, lead people who found it to believe it, and perhaps see Jones as a target as a result. The plaintiff tried to show that parallel with how he covered the Sandy Hook shooting in his shows and the ongoing defamation trial.
Jones's defense team argued that the plaintiff’s counsel was instigating and antagonizing Jones - setting him up to speak about topics that the court previously barred, and baiting Jones into contempt.
Mattei played the full speech a father of a Sandy Hook victim gave the day after the shooting that killed 20 kids and six educators nearly 10 years ago.
The proceedings then turned into a screaming match. Several observers in the courtroom, some of them families of the Sandy Hook victims, could be seen wiping their eyes, as Jones' attorney, Norm Pattis, was screaming over Mattei, Jones, and the judge, and objecting to numerous points Mattei was making.
Before court adjourned, Judge Barbara Bellis said she will have "zero tolerance" for Jones and his attorney not following the rules on Friday. She warned they could face a contempt hearing.
“Are you hoping anything goes differently inside after lunch?” FOX61’s Gaby Molina asked Alex Jones outside the courthouse. “Lots of stop and go.”
“The judge found me guilty – which is unprecedented in America, and now, there’s all these things I can’t say, like I’m innocent or I was the first person to question Sandy Hook,” Jones replied.
Jones was already found liable for damages for calling the Sandy Hook shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, a hoax on his InfoWars show.
Last month, a separate defamation trial ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million to the Lewis family, who lost their son Jesse in the shooting.
In this Connecticut case, the families of eight victims and an FBI agent that responded to the shooting filed for damages against Jones, saying his claims saying Sandy Hook was stage had turned them into targets.
Pattis argues that any damages should be limited and accuses the victims' relatives of exaggerating the harm the lies caused them.
A third similar suit, out of Texas, is awaiting trial.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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