Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s record of losing legal battles remained unblemished this week when the Connecticut Supreme Court denied three separate motions in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by Sandy Hook families.
Lead plaintiff Erica Lafferty sued Jones and his InfoWars media empire in the spring of 2018 for invasion of privacy by false light, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and for allegedly violating a Connecticut statute prohibiting unfair trade practices. The case, through numerous removals, appeals and other forms of legal wrangling, has ping-ponged across various courts for years.
The case stems from Jones’ oft-repeated and false claims that the Sandy Hook mass shooting was a hoax constructed by the media using “crisis actors” as part of some sort of sidelong effort to promote an anti-Second Amendment narrative.
“Jones is the chief amplifier for a group that has worked in concert to create and propagate loathsome, false narratives about the Sandy Hook shooting and its victims, and promote their harassment and abuse,” the complaint says. “Jones, along with these others, has persisted in the perpetuation and propagation of this outrageous, deeply painful, and defamatory lie in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, and with no supporting evidence.”
But, the lawsuit contends–and this is both key to the plaintiffs’ theory of liability and their case’s outcome–Jones did not spread the Sandy Hook hoax line because he believes it to be true or because he doesn’t understand that he’s engaged in a hoax. He did it all to gin up outrage, ratings, advertising rates and third-party sales from which he takes a commission, according to the filing.
“Jones does not in fact believe that the Sandy Hook Shooting was a hoax–and he never has,” the complaint continues. “Nevertheless, time and again, Jones has accused Sandy Hook families, who are readily identifiable, of faking their loved ones’ deaths, and insisted that the children killed that day are actually alive. Jones has deliberately employed these false narratives about the Sandy Hook shooting, the victims, and their families as part of a marketing scheme that has brought him and his business entities tens of millions of dollars per year.”
Jones and others have managed to drag out the process for quite some time.
Discovery was terminally delayed and that issue came to a head in bizarre fashion in spring 2019. Jones’s then-attorney Norm Pattis declared that his client lacked proper legal representation–but stopped just short of blaming himself for the failure to comply with document production deadlines.
Pattis withdrew from the case earlier this year and Jones later tried–for the second time–unsuccessfully to have him replaced with attorney Marc Randazza. Several additional motions were filed with the Nutmeg State’s high court after the representation shakeup.
On July 28, 2020, Jones moved to have the case paused until the U.S. Supreme Court could review the matter. On August 10, 2020, Jones filed a supplemental motion for that previous stay request pending the Supreme Court’s decision. Then, on August 12, 2020, Jones moved to have the court reconsider a prior ruling which approved sanctions against the defendants.
On Tuesday, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled against each of those three above-mentioned motions–paving the way for the case to finally commence in earnest on the merits before Superior Court Judge Barbara N. Bellis.
“This lawsuit is about holding Jones and the other defendants accountable for the effects of their outrageous, malicious, and deeply hurtful lies,” the original complaint says. The plaintiffs are now quite a bit closer to their day in court than they ever have been before.
[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
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