Alex Jones returned to the airwaves almost immediately Friday after being ordered to pay nearly $50 million to grieving Sandy Hook parents — continuing to claim the decks were stacked against him as he blamed George Soros and “workers” for his legal troubles.
That indifference was in stark contrast to the red-faced, soft-jawed confusion that registered on Mr. Jones’s face during the trial when it emerged that his lawyers had sent mistaken evidence to opposing counsel.
This week, media mogul Infowars, estimated to be worth about $270 million by one economist, lost the first of several trials against him for spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation. He has repeatedly insisted that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut – when a gunman killed 20 six- and seven-year-olds at an elementary school – was staged as a hoax.
Mr. Jones finally admitted under oath that the shooting was “100% real” and even shook hands with the victims’ relatives.
After being awarded millions in damages, however, the conspiracy theorist resumed his provocative and provocative persona.
In Friday’s broadcast, he said billionaire philanthropist George Soros and an unnamed cabal had “coordinated and run” a campaign against him. Mr Jones also aimed to testify to economist Bernard Pettingill Jr and Judge Maya Guerra Gamble.
“This is beyond any rigged kangaroo court ever,” he said on Friday.
Despite admitting in court that the 2012 mass shooting happened – in contrast to years of claims to the contrary and his deer-in-the-headlights performance when caught out in a lie – Mr Jones’s trademark bullish recovery was almost in his own character throughout the trial.
During a break on the first day, he held an impromptu news conference just a few feet from the courtroom doors and used the term “kangaroo court” as well as “show trial,” claiming his fight for free speech was about First Amendment. 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, he was always with a security detail of three or four guards. Jones, who was not in court for the verdict, often refused to testify 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 boost his appeal to fans.
“It’s the strangest behavior I’ve ever seen at trial,” First Amendment lawyer Barry Covert, of Buffalo, N.Y., told AP. “I think Jones is a money-making juggernaut – crazy like a fox. The bigger the show, the better.”
Kevin Goldberg, a First Amendment specialist at the Maryland-based Freedom Forum, said it was difficult for him to imagine what Jones might be thinking and how he might benefit from his behavior.
“I don’t know what it’s supposed to accomplish other than being the brand for Alex Jones,” Mr. Goldberg told AP. “This appears to be a man who has built his brand … on disregarding government institutions … and this court.”
Despite Mr. Jones’s view, the plaintiffs and relatives of the victims felt that the trial verdict was somewhat affirmative.
“Alex Jones was 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 forever grateful to them. Ironically, Alex Jones gave me a bigger platform to share Jesse’s story and message.”