Alex Jones makes appearance in Waterbury court
WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - The second week of the Alex Jones defamation trial started Tuesday.
The well-known conspiracy theorist showed up to Waterbury Superior Court for the first time on Tuesday morning.
Jones has yet to take the stand.
The attorneys representing the victims’ families as well as an FBI agent who responded that day continue to build their case, that Jones made money calling Sandy Hook hoax.
An expert witness testified Tuesday.
He was the bulk of the day’s testimony.
From the beginning, the plaintiffs’ attorneys have been clear their focus is on Jones’ business practices.
Tuesday, with this expert witness, they’re trying to show how Jones was able to engage and keep his audience, in turn, profiting off their clicks and views.
Terrorism expert Clinton Watts analyzed how social media and the internet influences peoples’ behavior.
He said a sure way to get a message to stick is by hearing it over and over.
“Essentially, the longer you hear about something, the more likely you are to believe you need to buy it, lease it, rent it, if it’s a product. Or that it changes your whole perception of that reality. If you’re hearing it over and over again, audiences tend to challenge and ask themselves, well if I keep hearing it, then it must be true,” said Watts.
The plaintiffs’ argument is Jones profited for his lies Sandy Hook was a hoax, claiming Jones capitalized on his rapidly growing audience, pushing products and clicks to his store.
“Until I discovered a product being developed by doctor group, who I was already interviewing as an expert in my radio show, and I began taking product before he actually rolled it out. You now know it as survival shield,” said Jones in a clip.
Watts said it’s a very straightforward approach.
“In this case, he’s discussing Sandy Hook and trying to draw attention to it. He’s also elevating another messenger who’s reinforcing his beliefs, but quickly transitions to sales. In this case, trying to sell products,” Watts said.
Aside from the repetition, plaintiffs’ lawyers have showed Jones bringing on guests to his show, supporting his theories.
Watts said this is a way to build loyalty.
“If you are pushing false information into an information system, if there is no rebuttal, meaning the audience comes directly to that messenger and they believe everything is truth, there is no rebuttal then there is nowhere for the truth to creep into the audience,” said Watts.
Outside of court, Jones maintained he was only questioning the Sandy Hook shooting, not trying to profit off his coverage.
“I did not pre-meditatively create this whole thing to quote, make money. It’s hurt me over the last ten years. I had employees basically quit stuff over ten years ago or eight years ago when I first started questioning it for a few years,” said Jones.
When Jones testifies, he’s barred making claims he didn’t make money off this, due to a sanction from Judge Barbara Bellis.
“Even in a criminal trial, where they found somebody with dead bodies, give the guilty person wants to say they’re innocent, they’re allowed to. Okay? But I’m being told i’mma say I’m guilty because they’ve already defaulted me and say I’m guilty,” Jones said. “She’s now ordered me to not say I’m innocent, and ordered to me to say that I have not profited from Sandy Hook. That’s ordering me to perjure myself. I will not perjure myself on the orders of a judge.”
The corporate representative for Free Speech Systems, Jones’ company, finished her testimony Tuesday morning before Watts took the stand.
She had been testifying since last Wednesday.
Watts will continue with his testimony of Friday, leaving the possibility of Jones testifying open for Wednesday or Thursday.
Court resumes at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Last week, Jones still took center stage as attorneys for the plaintiffs played footage during which the conspiracy theorist falsely claimed in 2017 that the CIA recruited Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza.
During most of last week’s proceedings, Brittany Paz, who Jones is paying $37,000 to testify on behalf of Infowars’ parent company, answered questions on the stand.
This week, however, Jones is required to appear in court himself. His lawyer, Norm Pattis, said he expects him to show up; although, it’s unclear if he’ll testify.
There have already been plenty of fireworks in the courtroom. The judge said Jones’s legal team has made a mockery of the trial. She also reprimanded Pattis for attempting to cover her microphone during a sidebar last week.
Jones is technically required to appear in court every day this week.
He was already found liable in a Sandy Hook defamation trial in Texas.
Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage of the trial in Waterbury.
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