Alex Jones returned to the airwaves almost immediately on Friday after being ordered to pay nearly $50 million to grieving Sandy Hook parents — and continued to insist the decks were stacked against him as he accused George Soros and “operatives ” for his legal troubles.
This defiance was in stark contrast to the red, slack-jawed shock that registered on Mr Jones’ face during the trial when it emerged that his lawyers had mistakenly sent incriminating evidence to opposing counsel.
This week, the Infowars media mogul, estimated to be worth about $270 million by one economist, lost the first of several lawsuits against him for spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation. He repeatedly insisted that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut – when a gunman killed 20 six- and seven-year-olds at an elementary school – had been staged as a hoax.
Jones eventually admitted under oath that the shooting was “100% real” and even shook hands with relatives of the victims.
After the award of millions in damages, the conspiracy theorist resumed his brash and provocative persona.
In a Friday broadcast, he said billionaire philanthropist George Soros and an unnamed cabal had “coordinated and run” a campaign against him. Jones also took aim at testifying economist Bernard Pettingill Jr and Judge Maya Guerra Gamble.
“This is beyond any kangaroo-rigged court ever,” he said on Friday.
Despite admitting in court that the 2012 mass shooting happened — contrary to his years-long claims otherwise and his deer-in-headlights expression when caught in a lie — Mr. Jones’ trademark bullish demeanor was almost a character itself throughout the game. try.
During a break on the first day, he held an impromptu press conference just a few feet from the courtroom doors and again used the term “kangaroo court” as well as “show trial,” arguing that his fight for free speech under the First Amendment was being railroaded. On the first day, he arrived at the courthouse with “Save the 1st” written on silver tape over his mouth.
When he came to the courthouse, it was always with a security detail of three or four guards. Jones, who was not in court for the sentencing, often skipped testimony to appear on his daily Infowars program, where the attacks on the judge and jury continued. During one show, Jones said the jury was drawn from a group of people who “don’t know what planet they live on.”
Some legal experts told The Associated Press they were surprised by Jones’ behavior and questioned whether it was a calculated risk to increase his appeal to fans.
“It’s the most bizarre behavior I’ve ever seen in a court case,” First Amendment attorney Barry Covert, of Buffalo, N.Y., told the AP. “In my opinion, Jones is a money-making wizard – mad as a fox. The bigger the show, the better.”
Kevin Goldberg, a First Amendment specialist at the Maryland-based Freedom Forum, said he found it hard to imagine what Jones might be thinking and what benefit he might derive from his behavior.
“I don’t know what it’s designed to accomplish other than to brand Alex Jones,” Goldberg told the AP. “This appears to be a man who has built his brand … on disrespecting the institutions of government … and this court.”
Despite Mr Jones’ stance, the plaintiffs and the victims’ relatives felt somewhat vindicated by the trial.
“Alex Jones was held accountable,” tweeted plaintiff Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse, 6, was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. “Today, the jury proved that most of America is ready to choose love over fear, and I will be eternally grateful to them. Ironically, Alex Jones ended up giving me a bigger platform to share Jesse’s story and message.”