Jury shown video of Alex Jones mocking Sandy Hook parents
The second defamation trial of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is underway in Connecticut as he faces the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that he claimed was a hoax in broadcasts to his millions of viewers.
For three days the court has been hearing from an appointed representative of Jones’s media company, Brittany Paz, about its operations, though much of her testimony has been evasive. The jury was shown how Infowars’ audience grew exponentially following the tragedy and company revenues increased dramatically.
Multiple videos have been shown of Jones’ egregious claims about the shooting, including when he mocked the parents of victims as “crisis actors” and displayed completely false information about the events of the day.
Last month he was ordered to pay nearly $50m to the parents of one of the slain children by a Texas jury following a similar lawsuit. Now, jurors will decide how much he should pay relatives of eight victims and the FBI agent who responded to the scene of the 2012 massacre.
Back on Google Analytics, Mr Mattei shows data that shows Infowars pageviews went from approximately 500,000 impressions to 2 million after the publication of a bogus Sandy Hook story in 2014.
After running bogus Sandy Hook stories or posting videos, Infowars saw a 33.4 per cent increase in new visitors to the website, Mr Mattei shows the jury.
Despite all the evidence presented to the court, including clearly labelled emails and attachments saying so, Ms Paz refuses to concede whether she knows if Infowars uses Google Analytics.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 17:38
In a deep dive into the data around the bogus Adan Salazar story about the FBI that claimed no one died at Sandy Hook, it is clear that traffic from multiple sources spiked to the site. Ms Pax concedes the reason is the Salazar story.
The majority of visitors to the site come from social media. When Jones had Halbig on to discuss the FBI statistics and other false theories about Sandy Hook, social media traffic to Infowars doubled, with more than two-thirds of traffic to the site coming from social media.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 17:47
Ms Pax is now asked about the revenues of Free Speech Systems/Infowars as the corporate representative. She says the company has made millions of dollars. Mr Mattei corrects her and says in yesterday’s testimony she said “hundreds of millions of dollars”.
Again, Ms Paz says she cannot recall an exact number but concedes that the company brings in more than $100m but less than $1bn.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 17:54
Reviewing Infowars’s daily revenue figures around the time of the bogus FBI story, the day prior to its broadcast the company brought in approximately $48,000, and the day after $232,000 — a 500% increase.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 18:00
Direct examination of Ms Paz will continue in an hour.
As a representative of Free Speech Systems/Infowars, she still refuses to acknowledge Infowars uses Google Analytics despite all of the evidence presented in court that it does.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 18:05
Jarring footage of Jones raises eyebrows in jury
Elizabeth Williamson of The New York Times notes that the videos shown in court of Jones broadcasting bogus claims about Sandy Hook on his show and then pivoting immediately into selling merchandise and supplements to his audience have raised a few eyebrows among members of the jury.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 18:30
Court resumes after lunch
Court resumes after lunch and Free Speech Systems’ corporate represenative Brittany Paz returns to the stand.
Mr Mattei begins by asking Ms Paz about a documentary aired by Infowars titled: We Need To Talk About Sandy Hook.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 19:08
Mr Mattei plays another Infowars video of Jones calling the shooting a “giant hoax.”
“How do you deal with a total hoax? How do you even convince the public it’s a total hoax?” he says.
A caller says to Jones that he lives 50 miles from Sandy Hook says that there is “no there, there” and repeats the hoax that the shooting hadn’t happened.
There is a feedback loop between Jones and his caller regarding the conspiracy.
Jones says the “whole thing is fake, and it pretty much didn’t happen” and he came to that conclusion after doing “deep research.”
Ms Paz confirms from the witness stand that Jones did no such research.
Jones says he sent an investigator to Newtown. Ms Paz acknowledges that the investigator was Wolfgang Halbig.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 19:14
Ms Paz is asked to read out an email from Halbig to the mother of a Sandy Hook victim in December 2014 accusing of her of not protecting her child by sending her to the school saying it was a “toxic waste dump” and accusing her of “child endangerment”.
Halbig wrote: “Josephine, your child, should have expected more from you … you are supposed to protect her from lifelong health risks when you sent her to that school.”
Ms Paz then confirms that despite having knowledge of the email, Infowars continued to have Halbig on as a guest.
Another email is shown from 2020 in relation to this very court case. Halbig writes to Infowars news director Rob Dew suggesting different deposition strategies.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 19:25
Mr Mattei moves on to parent Leny Pozner’s successful takedown of Infowars content for showing his late son.
The Jury is shown a clip of Jones saying he got 10 million YouTube viewers a week, and “a billion views” since 2008 across various platforms.
Mr Pozner’s YouTube complaint caused his channel to get shut down and Jones responded by showing Mr Pozner’s business address on air.
Ms Paz is asked if Jones did this in retaliation and she says she wouldn’t use that word but wouldn’t speculate on what word she would use.
Oliver O’Connell15 September 2022 19:37
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