The conspiracy theories of Alex Jones are about to run smack into the reality of the American judicial system.
A Connecticut judge has ruled that Jones can be deposed in a lawsuit brought by the families of several victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. The judge also ruled that the families’ lawyers can depose other employees of InfoWars, Jones’s company that spreads conspiracy theories in between commercials for survivalist gear and protein powder.
The judge had also ruled a few weeks ago that Jones had to turn over internal company documents, including emails and financial statements, to the Sandy Hook families as part of the discovery process. Jones appealed that decision to the Connecticut state Supreme Court, which ruled against him.
The families are suing Jones over wild accusations he made on his radio show in the wake of the mass shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Jones alleged, among other statements, that the massacre was a hoax perpetrated by the United States government as a pretext for seizing Americans’ guns, that the children and their parents were actually “crisis actors” hired as part of the ruse, and that the parents had lied about seeing the bodies of their dead children.
The families say these statements led to years of harassment and abuse from Jones’s fans, who bombarded their social media accounts and homes with threatening phone calls and messages accusing them of being in on the hoax and claiming that their children were not actually dead.
It will be interesting to see how Jones defends himself. In 2017 he was embroiled in a custody battle over his three children after his now ex-wife filed for divorce. In that case, Jones’s lawyer told the court that he was a “performance artist” playing the role of a ranting conspiracy theorist to entertain his radio audiences. His ex-wife, Kelly Jones, countered that no, he really is that same ranting, weirdo conspiracy theorist at home. The court later awarded her full custody of the couple’s children.
Jones also was forced in 2017 to apologize to Comet Ping Pong, the Washington D.C. pizza parlor at the center of a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and other government officials were using the restaurant as a cover while they engaged in sexual abuse of children. Jones backed off his positions after one of his fans took an assault rifle to the restaurant to “investigate” the charges. The fan, Edgar Maddison Welch, was later sentenced to four years in prison. Jones
Whether any of the facts from his divorce or the Comet Ping Pong case will be allowed into the Sandy Hook trial remains to be seen. But they do give a precedent for what happens when Jones’s ranting lunacy collides with reality. At the moment, reality is on a winning streak.