WATERBURY, Conn. — The jury started deliberating Thursday afternoon after hearing closing arguments and rebuttals in the Alex Jones defamation trial into his Sandy Hook lies.
Jones elected not to finish testimony and returned home after being in Connecticut earlier this week.
The jury now has to decide how much the InfoWars host must pay eight Sandy Hook shooting victims' families and an FBI agent in damages.
The jurors agreed to reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Friday to continue deliberation.
A separate defamation trial in Texas over the summer ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million to the Lewis family, who lost their son Jesse in the shooting.
Plaintiff attorney Chris Mattei and defendant attorney Norm Pattis both addressed the jury Thursday morning in closing arguments.
Mattei started by using the theme of humanity, saying that’s what the jury needs to make a decision.
“All of you are in different stages of your life,” Mattei said to the jury. “Tell the truth, don’t hurt especially when you’re mad. Stand up to bullies…especially if being a bully makes them very, very rich.”
Pattis reminded the jury that the damages owed would be for compensating the plaintiffs the costs of the damages caused, and not as a punishment for what they did.
“We sat through a veil of tears that could not help but have stirred your emotion, could not help but stirred your sympathy, could not help but to give you a bias,” Pattis said. “The judge will tell you: sympathy, bias and emotion don’t play a role in hearing in damages.”
During the course of the trial, the Sandy Hook families spent time talking about their lives, how they met their spouses, and what they did for work. Mattei said they wanted the jury to hear they were real people.
“Not to Alex Jones, but they were real people with real stories with real lives,” Mattei said.
The families' lawyers showed clips from Jones’ on his Infowars show. In some, Jones said when talking about Sandy Hook that they were “staging it.”
“The threats, the harassment…when every single one of these families were drowning in grief, Alex Jones put his foot right on top of them,” said Mattei.
Pattis showed a 19-minute clip of an InfoWars broadcast in which Jones shared his frustration about being sued for his Sandy Hook lies in 2018. In the video, Jones called out major news networks that ran with the lawsuit story. He also compared and contrasted mainstream media scandals with the news of the Sandy Hook lawsuit and what he had said on his shows.
“You notice, I’m not invited to any of these shows, it’s all gotta be one-sided so that Megyn Kelly can lie to everybody,” Jones said in the broadcast.
Pattis echoed a statement Jones had said numerous times on the courthouse steps.
“Alex Jones didn’t kill their children… Alex Jones reacted from afar because he thought it was another sign of a conspiracy,” Pattis said.
To help the jury determine the amount Jones owes the Sandy Hook families, Mattei explained that damages in defamation/slander per se and emotional distress are the focus.
“This is their one chance and your one chance to render a verdict just how much devastation Alex Jones caused,” Mattei told the jury.
Attorney Josh Koskoff, on the plaintiffs’ legal team, had time to present a rebuttal after Pattis' closing arguments.
“I remember a bunch of you saying [during jury selection] 'Why would anyone do that? Why would anybody do that?' Well, I don’t think you’re asking that question anymore, because you know exactly why,” Koskoff said.
He rebutted the comparison that was made between Alex Jones and the fictional cartoon child Dennis the Menace.
“There is nothing childish, funny, or accidental, or cute or comical about Alex Jones and what he did to those families and that is an incredibly disrespectful thing to suggest,” Koskoff said.
Koskoff said there was “no wall” between the jury and their wisdom and the families that testified over the past few weeks.
“And if you think we were going to let Alex Jones dig into their therapy records, then you don’t understand the type of protection these people need to get,” Koskoff said.
Koskoff called Jones "cowardly" for holding several press conferences outside of court but seldom sticking around to listen to testimony inside the courtroom.
“Why is he poisoning our neighbors and friends? And our families? Why is he poisoning these families that we all care about because we are all from Connecticut and were all in this together? Why is he doing that? And where is he?! Where is Alex Jones?” Koskoff said, raising his voice.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took away the lives of 20 students and six educators.
Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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