Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been ordered by a judge to be deposed by attorneys for the families of many of the children who were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012, according to the Hill. The order came down on Wednesday from Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis, who ruled that Jones must sit for a five-hour deposition by the attorneys, who represent the families of victims who are suing Jones for defamation.
Three other people who work with Jones on his show have also been ordered to be deposed, for a total of 19 hours of depositions.
According to the lawsuit, Jones has repeatedly alleged on his show that the shooting was a hoax perpetrated by what he termed “crisis actors,” perpetuating an entire online conspiracy sub-genre that presupposes any mass shooting to have been a hoax. Not only that, the suit alleges, Jones made millions in advertising dollars by presenting the tragedy in such a light.
“For years, Alex Jones and his co-conspirators have turned the unthinkable loss of our sweet little Daniel and of so many others into advertising dollars and fundraising appeals,” said Mark Barden, one of the parents who lost a child at the shooting, and who is named as a plaintiff in the suit.
“It is far beyond time that he be held accountable for the pain his false narratives have caused so many, and today’s ruling brings us one step closer to doing that.”
The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Jones and others affiliated with his program have waged a campaign spanning years of “abusive and outrageous false statements” promoting the theory that the Sandy Hook was staged, and that the victims’ families “who lost loved ones are paid actors who faked their relatives’ deaths.”
The suit goes on to allege that Jones knew that the claims he made on his show were not true, but that he continued making them anyway to generate higher ratings, and thus more ad dollars.
The judge also ruled last month that Jones must turn over financial documents relating to Infowars. Jones’ attorneys have filed for the suit to be dismissed on the grounds that Jones has a First Amendment right to espouse such views and compared him to Watergate figures Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, thought the judge hasn’t ruled on that motion yet.
In 2017, Jones, via his attorneys during a custody battle with his estranged wife, claimed in court that he is a “performance artist,” and that judging his stability by what he says and does on his show isn’t fair.
“He’s playing a character. He is a performance artist,” said Jones’ attorney in that case, Randall Wilhite, according to an Austin-American Statesman article from 2017.