A judge ruled Friday that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones will be refunded $75,000 in fines after attending a long-delayed deposition in a trial to determine how much Jones must pay to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims’ parents and first responders over his claims that the shooting was a hoax.
Jones sat for questioning April 5-6 at the Bridgeport, Connecticut, offices of lawyers representing the plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs in the case include relatives of eight children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting and an FBI agent who responded to the incident, who claim they were harassed by Jones’ fans after Jones falsely claimed the shooting was a “giant hoax.”
Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis had ruled March 30 that Jones would be fined between $25,000 and $50,000 each weekday until attending a deposition he had skipped twice—money Jones is now set to get back.
Norman Pattis, a lawyer representing Jones, said in a video that the deposition was drawn-out and difficult, with tensions rising as Jones was asked questions not related to the Sandy Hook shooting.
Jones took a dim view of the deposition, claiming that Democrats were using the Sandy Hook shooting as a pretext to abolish the First Amendment.
Twenty-six people were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. On his conspiracy-themed InfoWars platform, Jones quickly promoted a false narrative that the shooting was a false-flag event using actors to drum up support for restricting gun rights. Though Jones later admitted that the shooting actually happened, he has continued to cast himself as a victim of persecution by anti-free-speech Democrats and by traditional media outlets seeking to demonize independent media. October 11, Jones was found guilty by default of defamation in two lawsuits lodged in Texas by Sandy Hook victims’ families not involved in the Connecticut case, after a judge found that Jones had persistently abused the discovery process. November 15, Jones was found liable by default in the Connecticut lawsuit, with Bellis making similar observations about Jones’s alleged lack of compliance with evidentiary rules. Jones claimed he skipped March 23 and 24 deposition dates in the Connecticut case because he was acting on doctor’s orders regarding unspecified “medical conditions.” It later emerged that Jones’s medical adviser was Dr. Benjamin Marble, a conspiracy theorist who claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci was the creator of Covid-19 and a “mass murderer.” March 30, shortly before Bellis announced the fines, Jones offered to pay the Connecticut plaintiffs $120,000 apiece and to deliver a “heartfelt apology” to settle the case, a proposal that was quickly rejected.
Jones had a cameo in Richard Linklater’s 2006 dystopian thriller A Scanner Darkly, portraying a bullhorn-wielding anti-government protester. After Jones became affiliated with Donald Trump, Linklater remarked that he missed the era when Jones was merely “this hyper guy that we’d all kind of make fun of.”
What To Watch For
A trial is set for August to determine how much in damages Jones must pay the Connecticut plaintiffs.