On Monday, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Infowars host, Trump ally and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who was fighting a Connecticut court sanction in a defamation lawsuit brought by relatives of some victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Jones was penalized in 2019 by a trial court judge for an outburst of anger at an attorney for the relatives and for violating numerous orders to deliver documents to attorneys. Judge Barbara Bellis barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and said she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees.
Jones argued that he should not have been penalized for exercising his right to freedom of expression. The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld Bellis’s ruling last year.
The families and an FBI agent who responded to the 2012 shooting, which killed 20 first-graders and six educators, are suing Jones and his web show for claiming the massacre was a hoax. The families said they had been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ supporters.
Jones, whose program is based in Austin, Texas, has since said that he believes the shooting happened. The supreme court rejected his appeal request without comment.
Jones’ attorney, Norman Pattis, called the court’s decision “a disappointment.”
“Judge Bellis and the Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed terrifying and unstandard power over the out-of-court statements of litigants,” said Pattis. “Mr. Jones never threatened anyone; if he had, he would have been charged with a crime. We are slowly making our way, case by case, towards a toothless and politically correct First Amendment. “
Messages seeking comment were sent to attorneys for the families of eight victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and to the FBI agent.
Jones, at Infowars in 2019, accused an attorney for the families, Christopher Mattei, of planting images of child sexual abuse that were found in metadata files Jones released to attorneys for the Sandy Hook families. Pattis has said the files were in emails sent to Jones that were never opened.
“You’re trying to set me up with child pornography,” Jones said. “A million dollars, gang members. A million dollars for putting your head on a pike. “
Jones showed a photo of Mattei, a former federal prosecutor, and said, “I’m done. Total war. You want it? You got it. “
In remarks riddled with foul language, Jones added: “A million dollars when convicted. The reward is out…. small bag of soil. A million … is out. “
The Connecticut Supreme Court said the sanctions against Jones did not contradict the First Amendment because they were imposed because of a speech that was an “imminent and probable threat to the administration of justice.” Chief Justice Richard Robinson wrote: “Language that evokes threats of physical harm is not tolerable.”
The Sandy Hook families sued Jones and others for defamation in other states. A Texas judge in 2019 ordered Jones to pay $ 100,000 in legal fees and refused to dismiss the lawsuit. A jury in Wisconsin awarded one of the parents $ 450,000 in his lawsuit against the conspiracy theorists, not including Jones, who claimed that the massacre never happened.