By JIM VERTUNO | Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones testified Wednesday that he now understands it was irresponsible of him to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax and that he now believes it was “100% real.”
Speaking a day after the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 attack testified about the suffering, death threats and harassment they’ve endured because of what Jones has trumpeted on his media platforms, the Infowars host told a Texas courtroom that he definitely thinks the attack happened.
“Especially since I’ve met the parents. It’s 100% real,” Jones said at his trial to determine how much he and his media company, Free Speech Systems, owe for defaming Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis. Their son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 students and six educators who were killed in the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, which was the deadliest school shooting in American history.
But Heslin and Lewis said Tuesday that an apology wouldn’t suffice and that Jones needed to be held accountable for repeatedly spreading falsehoods about the attack. They are seeking at least $150 million.
Neil Heslin, father of 6-year-old Sandy Hook shooting victim Jesse Lewis, becomes emotional during his testimony during the trial for Alex Jones, Tuesday Aug. 2, 2022, at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin. Jones has been found to have defamed the parents of a Sandy Hook student for calling the attack a hoax. (Briana Sanchez/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool)
Closing arguments are expected to begin later Wednesday after more testimony from Jones, who has portrayed the lawsuit as an attack on his First Amendment rights.
Jones is the only person testifying in his own defense. His attorney asked him if he now understands it was “absolutely irresponsible” to push the false claims that the massacre didn’t happen and no one died.
Jones said he does, but added, “They (the media) won’t let me take it back.”
He also complained that he’s been “typecast as someone that runs around talking about Sandy Hook, makes money off Sandy Hook, is obsessed by Sandy Hook.”
Jones’ testimony came a day after Heslin and Lewis told the courtroom in Austin, where Jones and his companies are based, that Jones and the false hoax claims he and Infowars pushed made their lives a “living hell” of death threats, online abuse and harassment.
They led a day of charged testimony Tuesday that included the judge scolding the bombastic Jones for not being truthful with some of what he said under oath.
In a gripping exchange, Lewis spoke directly to Jones, who was sitting about 10 feet away. Earlier that day, Jones was on his broadcast program telling his audience that Heslin is “slow” and being manipulated by bad people.
“I am a mother first and foremost and I know you are a father. My son existed,” Lewis said to Jones. “I am not deep state … I know you know that … And yet you’re going to leave this courthouse and say it again on your show.”
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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News
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