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  1. #251
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    A sister of a teacher killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre and an FBI agent who responded to the shooting have both emotionally described what it has been like to be accused of being crisis actors by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and others.


    Carlee Soto uses a phone to get information about her sister, Victoria Soto, a teacher at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., after a gunman killed over two dozen people, including 20 children, on Dec. 14, 2012.


    A sister of a teacher killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre and an FBI agent who responded to the school shooting became overwhelmed with emotion Tuesday as they described what it has been like to be accused of being crisis actors by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and others.

    Carlee Soto Parisi and FBI agent William Aldenberg were the first witnesses to testify as a Connecticut jury began hearing evidence in a trial to decide how much money Jones owes for spreading the lie that the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown that killed 20 first graders and six educators didn’t happen.

    Soto Parisi said she has been hounded, both in Connecticut and after she moved to North Carolina, by those who believe she was acting. Some of the hoax believers went online and posted photos of grieving women, including an Associated Press photo of a distraught Soto Parisi outside Sandy Hook Elementary School after the shooting, saying they were the same actor.

    “I frequently got threatening emails and messages on all social media," she testified, crying at times. "And it got to a point where they would use the gun emoji. And I spoke with cops in Connecticut and my husband ended up having to speak with cops in North Carolina, because we were scared for our lives.”

    Aldenberg also broke down as he described being among the first law enforcement officers to enter the two classrooms where 20 children died. He described watching as the phone next to Vicki Soto's body lit up with messages from those trying to reach her.

    “Was what you saw in that school fake?” asked attorney Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

    “No,” Aldenberg said. “It’s awful. It’s awful.”

    He also testified about how he and others in the community and law enforcement were targeted with threats and conspiracy theories, including one that claimed he was an actor who also pretended to be the father of a victim.

    “It’s one of the worst things that ever happened, if not the worst thing that ever happened here, what happened to them,” Aldenberg said. “And people want to say this didn’t happen? And then they want to get rich off of it? That's the worst part.”

    The trial in Waterbury, less than 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Newtown, was attended by more than a dozen family members of victims, including David Wheeler, the father who conspiracy theorists had claimed was the same person as Aldenberg. Wheeler nodded his head as Aldenberg apologized for what Wheeler had to endure because of their resemblance.

    Jones did not attend the trial on Tuesday. He is expected in court next week. Jones and his Infowars brand are based in Austin, Texas.

    The Sandy Hook families and Aldenberg say they have been confronted and harassed for years by people who believed Jones’ false claim that the shooting was staged by crisis actors as part of a plot to take away people’s guns.

    Some say strangers have videotaped them and their surviving children. They’ve also endured death threats and been subjected to abusive comments on social media. And some families have moved out of Newtown to avoid harassment. They accuse Jones of causing them emotional and psychological harm.

    “You know, you can say whatever you want about me, I don’t care,” Aldenberg said. “Just say what you want. I’m a frigging big boy. I can take it. But then they want to make profits, they want to make millions and millions of dollars. They want to destroy people’s lives. Their children got slaughtered. I saw it myself, and now they have to sit here and listen to me say this.”

    It’s the second such trial for Jones, who was ordered by a Texas jury last month to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of one of the slain children. Jones was not at the trial Tuesday and is expected to attend next week.

    A jury of three men and three women along with several alternates will decide how much Jones should pay relatives of eight victims and Aldenberg. Judge Barbara Bellis found Jones liable for damages without a trial last year after he failed to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers.

    The judge also sanctioned Jones on Tuesday for failing to turn over analytic data related to his website and the popularity of his show. She told his lawyers that because of that failure, they will not be allowed to argue he didn’t profit from his Sandy Hook remarks.

    In opening statements, Jones was described by Mattei as a bully and by his own attorney as a crank in a town square who should be ignored.

    Mattei showed jurors data indicating how Jones' audience increased as he spread lies about the shooting. He also showed them photos and videos of things Jones had said, and told the panel they already had the tools from their own life experiences to decide what to do in this case.

    “What your parents taught you, what your grandparents taught you to know the difference between right and wrong, to know the difference between the truth and a horrible lie, to know the importance of standing up to bullies when they prey on people who are helpless and profit from them and to know unless you stop a bully, a bully will never stop,” he said. “And when it comes to stopping Alex Jones, that will be the most important work that you do.”

    Jones' attorney, Norm Pattis, argued that his client has espoused a number of conspiracy theories over the years, something he has a Constitutional right to do.

    “At what point do we regard him as a crank on the village green, a person we can walk away from if we choose?” he asked.

    Pattis told the jury that although Jones is liable for damages, any award should be minimal and alleged the families were overstating the harm they say Jones caused them.

    On his Infowars web show on Tuesday, Jones portrayed himself as the victim of unfair show trials.

    “How am I handling it? We’re at war. This is total tyranny,” he said. “I’ll tell you this, we can appeal this for years. We can beat this.”

    The trial is expected to last about a month and feature testimony from more victims' relatives. Jones also will be testifying, Pattis said.

    Jones now says he believes the shooting was real. At the Texas trial, he testified that he realizes what he said was irresponsible, did hurt people’s feelings and he apologized. He continues, however, to insist that his comments were protected free speech. He views the lawsuits as efforts to silence him and put him out of business.

    Jones’ lawyers say he intends to appeal the judgment against him in Texas. Jones also will face a third trial back in Texas involving the parents of another slain child.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  2. #252
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    A representative for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Infowars empire acknowledged on the witness stand Wednesday that the show and website spread falsehoods about the Sandy Hook school shooting.

    “I don’t think that we disagree that there were false statements made,” Brittany Paz testified at a civil trial involving Jones' claims that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was staged as a pretext to tighten gun regulations.

    Paz, a lawyer hired by Jones' defense to testify on the company’s workings, said she believed Jones didn't personally investigate the massacre. Nonetheless, he and Infowars repeatedly and falsely said it was a hoax, propped up by actors posing as grieving parents. Multiple Infowars videos featured what Paz called the “crisis actor theory.”

    “You mean ‘lie’?” plaintiffs' lawyer Christopher Mattei said, to objections from Jones' attorney.

    “They're not actors. Correct,” Paz ultimately responded.

    Soon after the killings, Jones disseminated the notion that one slain child’s father was reading a script devised by the government or media to shape public opinion, and Jones said the claim “needs to be looked into.”

    Later on, another young victim's father told Infowars in an email that the families were distraught at being harassed over the lies about the supposed hoax and crisis actors. An Infowars employee replied that the company was distancing itself from the claims. But another Infowars employee continued to develop the theory, Paz testified.

    The jury is tasked only with determining what Jones has to pay to eight victims’ families and an FBI agent — a judge already found the Infowars host liable for damages, by default. She made that determination after he failed to turn over documents as ordered during the lawsuit.

    Jones is expected to testify eventually, but he hasn't attended the trial so far. On his Infowars web show Wednesday, he called the proceeding a “show trial” meant to squelch dissent. He has cast the case as part of a dark campaign against him, his audience and Americans’ free speech rights under the First Amendment.

    “We knew they were using Sandy Hook to get the Second, but now they’re using it to kill the First,” he said. The trial comes about a month after a Texas jury ordered him to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of a child killed at Sandy Hook.

    Jones' lawyer, Norm Pattis, has urged the Connecticut jury to keep any damages minimal, arguing that the families are making overblown claims of harm.

    The families say the emotional and psychological harm was profound and persistent. Relatives say they were subjected to social media harassment, death threats, strangers videotaping them and their children, and the surreal pain of being told that they were faking their loss.

    “It’s hurtful. It’s devastating. It’s crippling. You can’t grieve properly because you’re constantly defending yourself and your family and your loved ones,” Carlee Soto Parisi testified Tuesday.

    Her sister, teacher Vicki Soto, was among the 26 people killed on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty victims were children.

    Soto Parisi described seeing social media comments claiming that she was a crisis actor, that her sister wasn’t shot or didn’t exist, and that the massacre never happened. She testified about getting ominous social media messages with gun emojis and finding a note on her door from a stranger saying she needed to go to church.

    And one time, she said, a conspiracy theorist showed up and shouted, “This never happened!” at a fundraising run that the family holds in Vicki Soto’s honor.

    The families argue that Jones trafficked in lies to boost his audience and, with it, customers for Infowars merchandise. Data shown in court Wednesday charted spurts in people viewing his websites and social media accounts after he started talking about Sandy Hook.

    By 2016, Jones' show aired on 150 affiliate radio stations, and the Infowars website got 40 million page views a month, according to statistics that the company used to pitch advertisers. Paz said she believes Jones has made hundreds of millions of dollars in the decade since the Sandy Hook slayings.

    Jones now acknowledges the shooting was real. At the Texas trial, he testified that he realizes what he said was irresponsible, and he apologized.

    He insists, however, that his comments were protected free speech.

    “I don't apologize for questioning it,” he said on his show Wednesday. “I apologize if, out of context, I hurt somebody's feelings.”

  3. #253
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    A representative for Alex Jones' Infowars was back on the stand in Waterbury Superior Court Friday.

    Jones has already been found liable for spreading the myth that the shooting never happened and the six-member jury in Waterbury will be deciding how much he and his company should pay the plaintiffs in damages. The trial started Tuesday and is expected to last a month.

    The families’ lawsuit claims that Jones trafficked in lies to increase his audience and sales of the nutritional supplements, clothing and other merchandise he sells on the Infowars website and hawks on his web show. Jones and guests on his show said the shooting was staged with crisis actors as part of gun control efforts.

    Documents showed daily revenues to the Infowars online store increased from $48,000 on Sept. 24 to more than $230,000 on Sept. 25. Total user sessions on the Infowars website, meanwhile, increased from about 543,000 on Sept. 23 to about 1 million on Sept. 24, the documents showed.

    Paz also was asked about Infowars videos that show Jones and guests using lies and misinformation to claiming the massacre was staged. She acknowledged that much of what was said was not true.

    In the videos, Jones says the school shooting was a “giant hoax" and “the fakest thing since the $3 bill.” He said there were aerial images of student actors running in circles in and out of the school when the images actually were of a nearby firehouse where people gathered after the shooting. He also claimed CNN was using green screens in fake interviews with people in Sandy Hook.

    Mattei later showed an email from a company executive showing internal conflict within Infowars about continuing to discuss conspiracy theories about the school shooting.

    “The Sandy Hook stuff is killing us,” Infowars editor Paul Watson wrote, asking why the company was risking its reputation and audience by harassing the parents of dead children.

    Paz acknowledged that Infowars broadcasted misinformation. She also acknowledged that Jones did not check the qualifications of a guest who appeared numerous times on his show—- a conspiracy theorist who claimed to be a school security expert who had investigating the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado — even as Jones boasted of his credentials and Infowars received emails questioning the guest's credibility.

    Paz testified that she believes Jones and his companies have made at least $100 million in the decade since the massacre and Jones is now worth millions of dollars. Website traffic data reports run by Infowars employees and presented at the trial also show that by 2016, his show aired on 150 affiliate radio stations, and the Infowars website got 40 million page views a month.

    The families say the emotional and psychological harm to them was profound and persistent. Relatives say they were subjected to social media harassment, death threats, strangers videotaping them and their children, and the surreal pain of being told that they were faking their loss.

    Jones' lawyer, Norman Pattis, said in his opening statement Tuesday that any damages should be minimal and claimed the families were exaggerating the harm they say they have suffered.

    __________



    The lawyer, Christopher Mattei, showed the jury a photo he said was of an Infowars webpage, depicting the judge in the trial with lasers shooting out of her eyes.

    “On a scale of one to 10, how seriously is Infowars taking this trial,” Mattei asked the corporate representative, Brittany Paz.

    “10. It's serious to me,” Paz responded.

    The exchange occurred as Jones prepares to begin attending the trial in Waterbury next week and the judge, Barbara Bellis, considers a request by the families' lawyers to limit what Jones and his lawyer can say and argue in court. Jones is expected to testify, but it's not clear yet when.

    Jones and his Free Speech Systems company are on trial in a lawsuit brought by an FBI agent who responded to the shooting and relatives of eight of the 20 first-graders and six educators killed in the December 2012 massacre in Newtown. They say Jones inflicted emotional and psychological harm on them, and they have been threatened and harassed by Jones’ followers.

    Pattis outlined Jones' defense in a motion filed Friday in response to the families' motion.

    “The defendants have argued, and intend to argue, that the plaintiffs have motives, biases and interest in exaggerating their claims against the defendants, to wit: their interest in gun control regulation and their hostility to Mr. Jones,” Pattis wrote.

    Pattis also said Jones is challenging the amount of any damages to be awarded and is focusing on the families' motives for “overstating their damages: to wit: their desire to silence Alex Jones not just because he harmed them, but because they find his politics and political affiliations repugnant.”

    Pattis added, “Mr. Jones’ conspiracy theory may by offensive to some, and ridiculous to others, but he has not gained millions of listeners by compelling people to tune in. He speaks a language that many Americans seem prepared to accept.”

    On his web show on Thursday, Jones once again called the Connecticut proceedings “a show trial.”

  4. #254
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    “Mr. Jones’ conspiracy theory may by offensive to some, and ridiculous to others, but he has not gained millions of listeners by compelling people to tune in. He speaks a language that many Americans seem prepared to accept.”
    It would be more honest if he just admitted there are a lot of stupid twats out there.

  5. #255
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    A defiant Alex Jones showed up at a Connecticut courthouse Tuesday and hurled insults at the judge overseeing a trial to determine how much he owes for spreading the lie that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax.

    Jones spent just a few minutes at the court in Waterbury, arriving at about 9:30 a.m., accompanied by one of his attorneys. He repeated declarations he made last week on his Infowars show that the proceeding is nothing more than a “show trial.”

    Judge Barbara Bellis found Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, liable by default last year after the conspiracy theorist didn’t abide by court orders requiring him to turn over documents.

    “This is a travesty of justice and this judge is a tyrant,” Jones said outside the courthouse. “This judge is ordering me to say that I’m guilty and to say that I’m a liar. None of that is true. I was not wrong about Sandy Hook on purpose. I questioned it.”

    Jones left a short time later, indicating he would not be testifying on Tuesday. He is expected to be called to the stand as soon as Wednesday.

    The jury, seated about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the town where 26 children and teachers died in the mass shooting, has been hearing evidence for a week to determine how much Jones must pay the families of eight victims and an FBI agent who was among the first to respond to the massacre.

    Because he has already been found liable by the judge, Jones is not allowed to present defenses arguing he is not responsible or that the First Amendment gave him the right to say the shooting didn’t happen.

    Jones has complained that he was found “guilty” without trials. There is no guilt in civil trials, including this one in Connecticut or one last month in Texas where a jury in a separate defamation lawsuit against Jones awarded nearly $50 million to the parents of one of the children killed in the shooting.

    “I’m being put in an impossible position inside of this courthouse, where I’m being ordered to say I’m guilty,” Jones said Tuesday. “Has anybody ever heard of someone being ordered to say they’re guilty? Even in a criminal trial where they found somebody with dead bodies, if the guilty person wants to get up and say they’re innocent they’re allowed to.”

    The plaintiffs say Jones’ promotion of Sandy Hook conspiracy theories on his show led to the families being threatened and harassed by deniers of the shooting. They say they’ve endured death threats and in-person harassment, video recording by strangers and abusive comments on social media. Some families moved to avoid harassment.

    And they say while Jones talked about the shooting, sales of the dietary supplements, clothing, food and other items he hawks on his show surged. A representative for Free Speech Systems testified last week that she believed Jones and his company made at least $100 million in revenues since the school shooting.

    On Tuesday, the jury heard testimony from Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and cybersecurity expert, who spoke about how the internet and social media are used by governments and organizations, including terrorist groups, to spread misinformation and call people to action.

    Watts said that by the end of 2012, around the time of the school shooting, Jones and Infowars had the infrastructure in place to have far-reaching influence: multiple websites, a large amount of content and a huge audience.

    That audience grew by tens of millions of people by the end of 2013, Watts said.

    Joshua Koskoff, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, showed Watts and the jury a video of some of Jones’ first comments about the school shooting, on the day it happened.

    “They are going to come after our guns, look for mass shootings,” Jones said, referring to his conspiracy theory that mass shootings are staged to spur gun control. “They are coming. They are coming. They are coming.”

    Jones adds: “They’re declaring war on the Second Amendment period.”

    Jones doesn’t clearly define who “they” are.

    Watts said he believed Jones was trying to spark anger and fear among his audience and create an us versus them narrative aimed at building his audience and increasing product sales.

    Jones has painted the trials as a conspiracy by Democrats and the media to take away gun rights, put him out of business and silence him.

    Jones says he now believes the Sandy Hook shooting did happen. Under oath and facing a jury in Austin, he said he realized portraying it as a hoax hurt people’s feelings, and he was sorry for that.

  6. #256
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    "This judge is ordering me to say that I’m guilty and to say that I’m a liar .... I was not wrong about Sandy Hook on purpose".
    The lying fat c u n t in a nutshell.

  7. #257
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    David Wheeler, father of a Sandy Hook victim, testified in Alex Jones' defamation trial Wednesday.

    Jones has already been found liable for defamation; the trial is about how much he owes in damages.

    Wheeler said Jones' "hoax" talk led people to come to his home asking for his son who died in the shooting.

    David Wheeler, the father of a Sandy Hook victim, testified Wednesday that the harassment stemming from Alex Jones' conspiracy theory that the mass school shooting was a "hoax" led strangers to show up at his home demanding to see his dead son.

    "Someone came to the house and knocked on the door. The person demanded to see Ben, saying 'I know he's here, I know he's alive,'" Wheeler said.

    Wheeler said it was a friend who first broke the news to him that Jones was spreading the falsehood that the shooting had been staged.

    "After the shock of Ben's murder, it felt like I was underwater and I didn't know which way was up. You're grasping with that, trying to get your head around that. To have someone publicly telling the world that it didn't happen and that you're a fraud and a phony is incredibly disorienting... I couldn't figure it out," he said.

    "It felt like I was delegitimized in a way. It makes you feel like you don't matter. Like what you went through doesn't matter," he added.

    Jones is currently standing trial in Connecticut after being found liable for defaming the families of victims who died in the Sandy Hook shooting, claiming it was a government orchestrated scheme. The trial is to determine how much in damages he owes the victims.

    It's expected to be a four to six-week long trial involving 15 plaintiffs — most of whom were parents of the victims.

    Twenty first-graders and six adults were killed in the December 14, 2012, shooting.

    Wheeler was the first witness called to the stand on Wednesday, during the second week of the trial. He spoke about the havoc Jones wreaked on his life.

    In the aftermath of the December 2012 shooting, Wheeler said people harassed him on Facebook, calling him "a fake" and "a liar," and that clips from his unsuccessful acting career were used as evidence that he was hired to play a part in the shooting.

    He said strangers showing up at his home forced him to eventually install a security camera system.

    Wheeler also had to have several conversations with his surviving son, Nate, who was 9 years old when they lost Ben, he said.

    "For years he would ask me why anyone would do such a thing … Why Alex Jones would say these things," Wheeler said.

    At one point, Wheeler became emotional on the stand as he was asked to describe what Ben was like.

    "Every parent thinks their kid is the greatest, but he had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a really funny kid. He moved really quickly through the world, nothing moved fast enough for him."

    He recalled a night when Ben was acting out at the dinner table, and as he took him aside to have a talk, Ben bit him on the arm. When he asked his son why he did it, he said Ben responded: "But Dad, I had to bite something."

    Wheeler said he's now grateful Ben bit him because it left him with a scar that serves as a physical reminder of his late son.

    This is the second of three similar trials. The first wrapped up in August, with an Austin jury ordering Jones to pay the parents of 6-year-old Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis nearly $50 million in damages. A third trial back in Texas is pending from Leonard Pozner and Veronique de la Rosa, the parents of victim Noah Pozner.

    Jones skipped the first week of his Connecticut trial but arrived in town for the second week. On Tuesday, he showed up to court but was not called to testify. Outside, he gave a statement to the media, branding Judge Barbara Bellis a "tyrant" and saying he didn't think he had done anything wrong.




    “If we do have an issue, Mr. Jones will be dealt with just like any other witness or party to appear before the court,” she said. “He's not going to get special treatment. He's not going to get more harsh treatment. Unfortunately over my career, I have had the opportunity to have contempt hearings. It's not pleasant, but that's what we do.”

  8. #258
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Alex Jones took the stand Thursday at his Connecticut defamation trial, acknowledging he had promoted the conspiracy theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, but angrily refusing to keep apologizing for that.

    More than a dozen relatives of the 26 shooting victims showed up to observe his often contentious testimony in Waterbury Superior Court, about 20 miles from Newtown, where the shooting occurred.

    Jones was found liable last year by default for damages to plaintiffs without a trial, for what the judge called his repeated failures to turn over documents to their lawyers. The six-member jury is now deciding how much Jones and Free Speech Systems, parent of Jones’ Infowars media platforms, should pay the families for defaming them and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.

    On Thursday, Jones admitted calling parents “crisis actors” on his show and saying the shooting was “phony as a three-dollar bill.”

    Plaintiff attorney Christopher Mattei accused Jones of putting targets on the parents’ backs, pointing to the family members in the courtroom and saying “these are real people.”

    “Just like all the Iraqis you liberals killed and love,” Jones responded. “Just, you’re unbelievable. You switch on emotions, on-and-off when you want. You’re just ambulance chasing.”

    “Why don’t you show a little respect?” Mattei shot back, as Jones’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, shouted objections and several family members shook their heads in apparent disbelief.

    The exchange went on with Mattei pointing out that the families in the courtroom had “lost children, sisters, wives, moms.”

    “Is this a struggle session?” said Jones, who in recent years has acknowledged the shooting was real. “Are we in China? I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times and I’m done saying I’m sorry.”

    After excusing the jury for the day, Judge Barbara Bellis admonished both sides, saying further outbursts would lead to a contempt hearing.

    Bellis had begun the day by going over the topics that Jones could not mention in his testimony: free speech rights; the Sandy Hook families’ $73 million settlement this year with gun-maker Remington (the company made the Bushmaster rifle used to kill the victims at Sandy Hook); the percentage of Jones’ shows that discussed Sandy Hook; and whether he profited from those shows or a similar case in Texas.

    “This is not the appropriate forum for you to offer that testimony,” Bellis said. Jones indicated that he understood.

    But the jury had to be sent out of the courtroom several times while attorneys argued about the scope of Jones’ answers.

    Alex Jones says he's 'done' apologizing to Sandy Hook parents

    “You’re going to get your exercise today, for those of you who wear Fitbits,” the judge told jurors.

    Earlier in the trial, family members of the victims have given often emotional testimony describing how they endured death threats, in-person harassment and abusive comments on social media. Some moved to avoid the abuse.

    Jones’ shows had portrayed the Sandy Hook shooting as staged by crisis actors as part of gun control efforts.

    Testimony also has focused on website analytics data run by Infowars employees showing how its sales of dietary supplements, food, clothing and other items spiked around the time Jones talked about the Sandy Hook shooting.

    Evidence, including internal Infowars emails and depositions, also shows dissention within the company about pushing the hoax lies.

    Pattis is arguing that any damages should be limited and accused the victims’ relatives of exaggerating the harm the lies caused them.

    Jones has already been found liable by default in two similar lawsuits over the Sandy Hook hoax lies in his hometown of Austin, Texas, where a jury in one of the trials ordered Jones last month to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of one of the children killed. A third trial in Texas is expected to begin near the end of the year.

    Jones was asked Thursday about a page on his Infowars site that called the trial a “kangaroo court” and included a graphic showing the judge with lasers shooting from her eyes. He said the page was created by his staff, but called it a “good report.”

    He was asked about advertisements on that page and other Sandy Hook content, as well as daily profit reports. Jones said he could not answer thoses questions, but denied he saw the trial as a marketing opportunity.

    Later, when asked about his fundraising and items offered in his Internet store, he made sure to give out the URL where people could buy cryptocurrency to support his company.

    “That will end up as a clip on your show tonight,” Mattei said. “You’re advertising for your cryptocurrency page?”

    “I mean people want to keep us in the fight, so I mean I hope whoever the big whales are that would give us money before keep doing it,” Jones said.

    Jones, who is expected back on the stand Friday, made brief comments to reporters while leaving the courthouse.

    “The First Amendment will prevail,” he said. “The American people will never be silenced.”

  9. #259
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    • Alex Jones Halts Testimony to Cool Off After Disastrous Court Day


    The conspiracy theorist went on an unhinged tirade outside the courthouse Friday, then jetted off to Texas.

    After a disastrous first day on the stand, Alex Jones skipped out on testifying Friday in his Connecticut defamation trial and headed back to Texas—but not before launching into a frenzied diatribe outside the courthouse about the “rigged” proceedings.

    On Thursday, things derailed almost immediately after the right-wing conspiracy theorist began his testimony, with Jones’ antics at one point leading Judge Barbara Bellis to ask his lawyer if he needed to be physically restrained from speaking. During his testimony, Jones called the opposing lawyers “ambulance chasers,” and suggested one of them was part of a “mafia” family that controls Connecticut.

    “Is this a struggle session, are we in China?” Jones erupted at one point. “I’ve already said sorry hundreds of times, and I am done saying I am sorry.”

    A six-person jury will determine how much Jones owes the eight families and one retired FBI agent who sued him after they say they were bombarded with death threats and unrelenting abuse from followers of the conspiracy theorist, who dismissed the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting as a hoax. The 20 children and six teachers who died at the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school were nothing more than “crisis actors” being used by the government to gin up support for stricter gun laws, Jones insisted at the time.

    Last month, in a related trial, Jones was ordered to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of Jesse Lewis, a 6-year-old boy who died in the Sandy Hook massacre.

    “I can’t even describe the last nine and a half years, the living hell that I and others have had to endure because of the recklessness and negligence of Alex Jones,” Lewis’ father, Neil Heslin, said on the stand.

    In court on Friday morning, Jones’ lawyer Norm Pattis told Bellis he would not be putting his client back on the stand today in an attempt to “lower the temperature.” Instead, Jones will come back next week, Pattis said.

    Outside, where Jones was—obviously—not under oath, he held a different type of court before a clutch of reporters.

    “Everything I’m saying here, I’m barred from saying in there,” Jones ranted, calling the proceedings a “show trial” that wouldn’t be out of place in North Korea. (In reality, Bellis prohibited Jones from saying certain things about the financial state of his immensely popular Infowars webcast, since he refused to participate in the discovery process.)

    “Basically it would be like a boxing match where one guy has his arms tied behind his back and a gag in his mouth,” Jones claimed, falsely. “So this is totally rigged. It’s an absolute, total fraud.”

    Continuing his open-air harangue, Jones accused Chris Mattei, the lawyer representing the eight Sandy Hook families and retired FBI agent William Aldenberg, of having gotten “completely out of control [on Thursday], trying to piss me off, trying to get me out of control.” He claimed Mattei was hoping for a “big cry-fest going in there, because they want to suck money out of people.”

    Jones, whose net worth is estimated at some $270 million, then cried poverty, insisting that the millions his company generates don’t trickle back down to him.

    “The good news is, I don't have hardly any money, despite what they lie about the press, OK?” Jones rasped. “You know, we might have gross sales of $6 million a year. But then I have all this crew and all this advertising, all the legal fees, and I get paid a couple million dollars a year after I pay taxes. After I pay for everything else, I am almost completely out of money. So, it's a joke. I’m in bankruptcy.”

    He claimed that people are “hungry for real independent analysis and commentary and opinion,” comparing himself to mainstream talk radio hosts like Don Imus and Howard Stern.

    “But instead, I’m a populist, conservative, nationalist patriot Christian,” Jones said.

    Before making a hasty exit, Jones bellowed, “They want your free speech. They want your guns. They want your whole world. They want your whole life. But at the end of the day, America is waking up to them and the deep state… All right, guys—Infowars.com.”

    Back inside, Mattei told Bellis that Jones had been holding an impromptu press conference during which he urged jurors to independently research the facts of the case before them. This, of course, contravenes the rules of the court. The court clerk told Bellis that four of the six jurors had left the building during the recess. Bellis was concerned they could have overheard Jones’ unhinged soliloquy, but the clerk believed they didn’t exit through the front, where Jones was.

    In Jones’ defense, Pattis told Bellis that Jones was not under a gag order, and that he went off because the press never gives him a fair shake.

    When Bellis brought the jury back into the courtroom, she told them to ignore Jones’ request that they do their own research.

    “You do need to follow my instructions, and I’m very confident that you will,” she said before dismissing them for the weekend.

    Following Jones’ courtroom outbursts on Thursday, Bellis said from the bench that she would begin enforcing a “zero tolerance” policy with contempt charges for violators.

    “He is just not able to control himself in any way,” Jones’ ex-wife Kelly told The Daily Beast earlier this month. “He is not a person who has any awareness, like you and I do… The jury trial Alex is facing while he engages in behaviors to con his audience to send him more money will be his day of reckoning.”

    Proceedings will resume on Tuesday.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/alex-j...s-day-in-court

    ____________

    Jury Sent Home; Alex Jones to Return to the Stand Next Week

  10. #260
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    A mom and dad whose son was killed in a 2012 school shooting testified they were harassed for years by hoaxers, including being sent photos of dead children, in a trial that will determine how much conspiracist Alex Jones must pay to the families of Sandy Hook for spreading lies about the shooting.

    Parents Ian and Nicole Hockley gave separate testimonies in a Connecticut courtroom Tuesday to talk about the onslaught of abuse and threats they received in the days, weeks and years following the death of their 6-year-old son Dylan.

    “I got sent pictures of dead kids because [hoaxers said] as a ‘crisis actor’ I didn’t know what dead kids looked like,” Nicole testified.

    Dylan was among 20 children and six adults who were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. In the years following, Infowars host Alex Jones spread the vicious lie that the parents were all “crisis actors” who didn’t suffer any tragedy. A jury will now determine how much he’ll have to pay to several Sandy Hook families after he lost his case to default judgement. In August, Jones was ordered to pay $45 million in punitive damages to another pair of Sandy Hook parents for his lies.

    Just days after posting a video of his son’s memorial service online, Ian Hockley was harassed and called a “party boy” among hoaxers for smiling during a particularly uplifting moment of the service.

    It was a name that would stick to him for years. In 2013, Ian started Dylan’s Wings Of Change, a nonprofit that helps children with emotional and social learning inspired by Dylan, who was diagnosed with autism when he was 3. In 2018, Ian began making more appearances at schools to talk about the program. The harassment was renewed.

    “Pictures from the memorial were sent to me again: ‘Hey it’s party boy Hockley, the fake parent of Sandy Hook, great photoshop dude,’” Ian testified.

    In an exhibit shown to the court, one hoaxer commented on a Facebook page for Dylan’s Wings Of Change: “Be warned, Sandyhook-Traitor, Ian ‘Party Boy’ Hockley comes here...He’s a douche that laughed and smile thru his ‘son’s funeral’ which was scripted...”

    It was of course not scripted, and Dylan was real. Parents Ian and Nicole talked lovingly of Dylan, who liked listening to the cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” off the Shrek soundtrack and would “jump up and down and flap his hands” when he got really excited.

    “You couldn’t help but laugh, it was really cute,” Ian testified.

    Nicole described Dylan as a sweet boy who loved cuddles.

    “He really loved cuddles. Really deep, deep cuddles,” she testified. “He liked to cling on to me like a koala bear. I loved that.”

    In her own testimony, Nicole detailed the threats she faced, including being sent a photo of other dead children from hoaxers.

    “I hid a lot of this from Ian,” Nicole said of the threats sent to their home. “It was very targeted comments, there were direct messages, emails, phone calls to my friends looking for me. I received mail at the house which I would tend to get to before Ian would get home from work.”

    Nicole said she now worries for their 18-year-old son, Jake, and what might happen if a hoaxer tries confronting him.

    “I am terrified that someone will hurt my son,” she said.

    As testimony continues in week 3 of the trial, Alex Jones has been on Infowars in Texas to sell supplements in videos about the trial titled “kangaroo court.” Other Infowars stories about the trial included talking about the “tyrant” judge overseeing the trial and the “elite” media covering it.

    How often is the harassment that parents Ian and Nicole face? Plaintiffs’ attorney Chris Mattei brought up an exhibit in court Tuesday that showed a comment sent to Nicole on Sep. 6, just a week before the trial began.

    “How do you sleep at night?” the hoaxer asked.

    As Nicole testified, she now sleeps with a bat, knives and a can of Mace by her bed.

  11. #261
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    The mother of one of the murdered Sandy Hook children described Wednesday how her life and her husband’s changed a decade ago when deniers of the school shooting twisted and abused her husband’s attempt to record what was intended to be a tender remembrance of their murdered daughter.

    “It has stolen so much of him,” Allisa Parker said of her husband Robbie, “He is very withdrawn, doesn’t talk to people. In the ten years since this has happened, outside the Newtown families that have lost loved ones, I don’t think he has made a friend. He doesn’t talk to anyone. He doesn’t trust people. He is worried about people encountering us.”

    The Parkers’ daughter, Emilie, was among the 20 first graders and six educators murdered in the 2012 Newtown school shootings. And they are among families of nine victim families suing conspiracy theorist and broadcaster Alex Jones in Connecticut, claiming that they have been threatened, stalked and harassed for years by people persuaded by his claims that the murders were stage by actors in a conspiracy to outlaw gun ownership.

    The recorded video tribute to his daughter made Robbie Parker a central figure in what has emerged as a legal fight to force Jones and others to tell the truth about the school shooting. Still in shock just days after his daughter’s murder, Robbie Parker jotted his thoughts on a piece of paper and, in response to encouragement from his father, smiled weakly as he approached what he thought was a single television camera.

    Within hours, Jones twisted and edited the video into what he claimed was proof of a hoax. He said Parker was an actor, reading from a script with a smile that did not suggest bereavement. Jones has played deceptively edited versions of the video dozens of times on his broadcast and internet platforms, while mocking Parker as a second rate actor with a make believe daughter.

    A decade later, Allisa Parker testified Tuesday, the threats and harassment generated by the misuse of the recording continue — following her family as they fled across the country to the Pacific northwest. She said she believes her family is being watched and that lies about the murders being a hoax have even “infected” their new West Coast church.

    “This weekend I had three people at church come to me and say that,” she testified, “People within your own group are turning against you and they don’t believe. Three people said they have a relative or a friend who didn’t believe in Sandy Hook and they had gone to bat for us.”

    Both Parkers testified Wednesday that the idea for the video remembrance that changed their lives came within hours of the shootings. Friends and family from their hometown in Utah were flying to Newtown to offer support. One of the friends created a social media page to honor Emilie.

    Allisa Parker testified that the page was quickly flooded with comments from people, many of whom knew nothing of Emilie. Friends of the Parkers, who did know their daughter, were being pressed by reporters in Utah and elsewhere for statements about the murdered first grader.

    “People were just saying the craziest things about our daughter and we didn’t want it to be that way,” Allisa Parker testified Wednesday. ”If anyone was going to say anything about our daughter, Robbie wanted it to come from us. And he wanted us to honor her in the way that we knew her and he wanted it to specifically come from him.”

    The Parkers had lived in Sandy Hook less than a year. They spent most of that time remodeling their house and had not made new friends. Their support network was in Utah, where they grew up and went to school. They were being deluged with calls from Utah

    They decided to give a single interview to a Utah television station to reach friends back home. It was to be recorded in their church in Connecticut. Robbie Parker jotted down some notes on a piece of paper and headed to the church.

    “He had written it out,” Allisa Parker said, fighting back emotion. “He just loved that little girl and he wanted to honor her. I was super proud of him. I could never have done that. The words that he used to describe our daughter were just beautiful and I am proud of him.”

    Robbie Parker testified, “I felt this strong urge to protect her in some way and that’s when I made the call and set the whole thing up. I didn’t want anything about my family to be taken the wrong way. I wrote an outline. I was just doing my best to try to honor her.”

    It was dark when Robbie Parker walked outside of the church for the interview. He expected one camera and planned to discuss ground rules with his interviewer. Instead he was confronted by a battery of cameras and blinded lights.

    “So I come out and it was already dark,” he testified. “And I just remember bright lights and I couldn’t see anything behind the bright lights and it was very confusing to me.”

    He was waiting for someone to come up and give him advice and how to conduct an interview. When no one arrived, he just started.

    He said his father whispered a family joke as encouragement and he walked to the lights with his notes. He identified himself, said that his was one of the families that had lost a child. He said his “heart and prayers” went out to all the victims, including the family of the gunman, Adam Lanza.

    “My daughter Emilie would be one of the first ones to be standing here and giving her love and support to these victims …” he said on the recording.

    “It was supposed to be one camera,” Allisa Parker said. “It ran away from us.”

    Hours later, at about 2 a.m., Parker was unable to sleep. He switched on his computer and discovered what his wife described as “horrible things” that were being written about Emilie. Allisa Parker said it was the beginning of what has become the endless assault by Sandy Hook deniers.

    “An assault, a full on assault,” Allisa Parker testified, fighting back tears. “It was so intense. And the words that people were using were so scary and horrific, what they were saying about my sweet daughter. Things like, ‘Watch you back, we are watching you.’ and ‘We are coming after you.’ They called Emilie a whore. Calling Robbie a liar. And that we were going to burn in hell for what he had done. It was just a constant onslaught coming after us and coming after our friends.”

    The Parkers and the other Connecticut families are suing Jones for millions of dollars. In his opening statement to the jury, one of their lawyers, Christopher Mattei, asked for a verdict big enough to “stop” Jones. In August, a Texas jury awarded the parents of one of the murdered children nearly $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a related suit. Still earlier this year, the victim families settled a suit against Remington Arms, which made the rifle Lanza used, for $73 million.

    The trial in Waterbury before Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis is solely for the jury to determine what compensation Jones owes. In an extraordinary default ruling last year, Bellis settled the question of Jones’ liability in favor of the families, finding that his broadcasts were false and were responsible for the harassment experienced by the families.

    The families accuse Jones of defamation, responsibility for emotional suffering and, significantly, violation of the state unfair trade practices law. If the families can persuade the jury that Jones spread lies and fears for profit, it could find him liable under the trade practices law, which puts no ceiling on damages.

  12. #262
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    If the families can persuade the jury that Jones spread lies and fears for profit, it could find him liable under the trade practices law, which puts no ceiling on damages.
    I'd be nothing short of astonished if they can't prove that, as he's still doing it even now.

  13. #263
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    Four years after his daughter was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and 3,000 miles away in a new home, Robbie Parker testified Thursday that the legion of deniers inspired by broadcaster Alex Jones continued to find him.

    Jones had long before seized on a video clip of Parker mourning the murder of his daughter Emilie, making it a regular prop in his conspiratorial broadcasts asserting that the school shootings were a hoax. Jones claimed Parker had to have been acting the part of bereaved parent, because he smiled briefly and consulted notes as he approached the television cameras.

    Less than a year after the Dec. 14, 2012 school shootings, Parker told the jury hearing the Connecticut defamation case against Jones, that the harassment he attributes to Jones’ broadcast and internet programs had become so abusive he came to believe he could better protect his family if they moved away from Newtown.

    He left his job as a physician assistant in neonatal intensive care at Danbury Hospital and moved to the state of Washington, but soon learned he might never get far enough away.

    His family was attending a charity event and he dropped them at a Seattle hotel. He was walking a block or so back from a parking garage when a stranger confronted him.

    “I am walking down this random street in Seattle and this guy is walking in the other direction and he gives me one of those looks like, ’You look familiar.’

    “This hadn’t happened to me in a long time, as far as somebody recognizing me in person. So I pause and I look at him and he asks me, ‘Didn’t you have a daughter that was killed?’ and I said, ‘Yeah my daughter Emilie. She was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School.’

    “And generally in these encounters, as awkward as they are, the person usually wants to give you a hug and express their condolences and all of that. And I reached my hand out to shake his hand. And he looked down at my hand and he just stared at me and he said, ‘How do you (expletive) sleep at night you (expletive) piece of (expletive).’

    “I was really taken back by that. And I stared at him. And he had so much venom and so much hatred for who he thought that I was. He said, ‘How much money did you get from the (expletive) government you (expletive)?’ ”

    Parker, overcome by emotion, told the jury that he changed direction to lead the stranger away from his family.

    “The guy just kept following me and he was just in my ear the whole time: ‘Emilie’s alive, isn’t she? She’s alive, huh? Son of a bitch, she’s alive.’ And I just kept walking and walking. People are staring at us and he just won’t shut up,” he said.

    “I’m just trying to hold it in. For years, I’ve been dealing with this. And I never had the chance to tell anybody how I felt or what I thought,” Parker testified. “I retreated every single time something happened to us. I put another layer of camouflage on us. Nobody can know where we are. And I retreated and I retreated.”

    “And now this guy was in my face and he wouldn’t leave me alone. And he said Emilie’s name one more time. I turned around and I looked at him and, I’m paraphrasing at this point, and I said, ‘How dare you. You’re talking about my daughter. She was killed. Who do you think you are? How do you sleep at night?’

    The stranger gave up, perhaps because a crowd had gathered. Parker said he walked for another 20 minutes to collect his wits.

    Parker testified that he thought he had regained his composure by the time he reached his hotel room. But his wife, Allisa, knew something had happened.

    “She opened the door and she took one look at me and her face went white. She could see it on me. The girls were on the bed watching a show and I darted into the bathroom and she followed me in and put her hands on my face and asked, ‘What happened, what happened?’ ”

    Allisa testified a day earlier and described for the jury her experience with what she described as a relentless, vile assault on social media that began within hours of her husband’s statement to the news media. She said Emilie, a first grader, was called a “whore” and she was told “that we were going to burn in hell for what he had done.”

    Robbie Parker described how, only a week after the murder, his wife collapsed under the combined weight of her daughter’s murder and a flood of social media messaging parroting Jones’ theory that the murder never happened, but was a hoax contrived to win support for gun control.

    Parker said they had flown to their hometown in Utah to bury Emilie with family. He said he found his wife sobbing in a coat closet as the service was about to begin and the church, fearing a disruption, had hired security guards.

    The Parkers are among the 14 relatives of Sandy Hook school shooting victims and a first responder suing Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, in Superior Court in Waterbury. Their daughter Emilie was among the 20 first graders and six educators killed when a mentally unstable 20-year-old shot his way into the school with an assault rifle.

    The families are suing Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, to collect millions for defamation and the emotional distress they say they have suffered over years of threats and abuse from people persuaded by Jones’ claims that the murders never happened. One of their lawyers, Christopher Mattei, told the jury it can “stop” Jones.

    In August, a Texas jury awarded the parents of one of the murdered children nearly $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a related suit. Still earlier this year, the victim families settled a suit against Remington Arms, which made the rifle Lanza used, for $73 million. A suit by another set of Sandy Hook victims is pending.

    The Waterbury trial before Judge Barbara Bellis is solely for the jury to determine how much Jones owes in compensation. In an extraordinary default ruling last year, Bellis settled the question of Jones’ liability in favor of the families, finding that his broadcasts were false and were responsible for the harassment experienced by the families.

    The default was an unusual legal sanction or punishment of Jones for abusing court procedure and failing to participate in reciprocal exchanges of information with the victims. Jones cannot defend himself under the default finding, but can try to minimize compensatory and punitive damages.

    The families accuse Jones of defamation, responsibility for emotional suffering and, significantly, violation of the state unfair trade practices law. If the families can persuade the jury that Jones spread lies and fears for profit, it could find him liable under the trade practices law, which puts no ceiling on damages.

    So far in the trial, lawyers for the victim families have given the jury evidence — most of it video clips from his broadcasts and analyses of web traffic to his multiple internet sites — that suggest he was aware that his Sandy Hook hoax broadcasts resulted in increased audience and spikes in sales at the retail sites where he sells nutritional supplements and survivalist supplies.

    The Parkers are among several relatives of victims who have been asked by their lawyers to watch video clips of Jones calling them actors and liars and then, often in tears, describe being threatened and tormented by usually anonymous people who subscribe to his conspiratorial views.

    The families are expected to complete their case to the jury when the trial resumes Tuesday. Jones testified earlier when called by the families. He is expected to appear as a witness again next week when his lawyer, Norm Pattis, tries to mitigate any damage award.

  14. #264
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    • Alex Jones’ Infowars Bankruptcy Turns Spotlight to Family, Friends


    Far-right conspiracist Alex Jones is facing heightened scrutiny as the bankruptcy of his Infowars parent company reveals a complicated web of corporate entities tied to his family and associates.

    Jones’ parents and sister control companies that are now looking to be paid as creditors of the bankrupt debtor, Free Speech Systems LLC. Other companies run by his personal trainer and an Infowars contributor also have supplier contracts with Free Speech that will be probed during the Chapter 11 case.

    Jones and his company now owe about $50 million in defamation judgment—and possibly more in the future—to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim families for his lies that the 2012 shooting was a hoax.

    Those families, as unsecured creditors, have led the call to investigate whether Free Speech, through his family and friends, has established corporate structures that allow him to protect assets that could otherwise be used to pay the defamation judgment.

    A judge has ordered the bankruptcy trustee in the case to investigate the intra-family and other dealings that could hurt creditor payout. Future court rulings could wreak havoc on Jones’ quest to use bankruptcy to limit his liabilities.

    The investigation “is a major inflection point in this bankruptcy case that will put the debtor on its heels and highlights that the Court is taking seriously the concerns of creditors,” said Nicholas Koffroth, a bankruptcy attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP.

    Findings of fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, or gross mismanagement could result in removal of Jones’ control over the assets, a liquidation order, or dismissal of the bankruptcy case, said Donald L. Swanson, a bankruptcy attorney and shareholder at Koley Jessen.

    Small businesses’ transactions and dealings with close insiders aren’t unusual. But Free Speech’s finances should be probed given the concerns over a “lack of candor” by some of its former advisers, Texas bankruptcy Judge Christopher M. Lopez said last week, while directing Subchapter V trustee Melissa Haselden to investigate the debtor.

    Jones, who via a separate entity invited a probe into Free Speech’s finances before Lopez ordered the investigation, said in a statement to Bloomberg Law that claims of “side deals” with certain companies are “100% false.”

    “I put Free Speech Systems into bankruptcy so that the truth of our financial situation could be known to the courts and to the people of America,” Jones said. “The establishment press and the plaintiff’s lawyers have continued to systematically lie at every point about the amount of money we have and our business practices.”

    All in the Family

    One of the key relationships that Haselden will look into is Free Speech’s relationship with PQPR Holdings Limited LLC, a dietary supplements procurer that’s owned by Jones’ and his parents, David Jones and Carol Jones, through affiliated corporate entities, according to court filings.

    Free Speech says it owes about $54 million in purportedly secured debt to PQPR. The dietary supplements and other products PQPR buys from suppliers are then sold to Free Speech to sell on the Infowars website.

    If that debt is found to be valid and secured, PQPR would be among the first in line to get paid under a bankruptcy plan—before the Sandy Hook families.

    Jones’ parents could not be reached for comment.

    “Just because the debtor labels the debt as secured does not mean that it is in fact,” said Melanie Cyganowski, a former bankruptcy judge now with the law firm Otterbourg PC.

    MRJR Holdings LLC, a company controlled by Jones’ sister, Marleigh Jones Rivera, is also an unsecured creditor listed in the case.

    Free Speech listed in court filings $84,000 in claims to Nevada-based MRJR. Before bankruptcy, Free Speech also paid roughly $240,000 to MRJR for consulting services, according to court records.

    Rivera could not be reached for comment.

    Selling Dietary Supplements

    Anthony Gucciardi, a former contributor to Infowars, also features in the case.

    Gucciardi owns a company, Austin-based Auriam Services LLC, that facilitates the credit card services Free Speech uses on its websites, Auriam attorney Lynn Butler of Husch Blackwell LLP told Bloomberg Law.

    Free Speech has paid the processor a fee of at least 4% of the total amount of all credit card charges processed under the agreement, as well as reimbursement of all costs incurred, according to court records.

    The trustee will investigate Free Speech’s agreement with a credit card processor, whose name has been redacted in financial disclosures. But the processor’s address uses the same PO Box of PQPR.

    “Mr. Gucciardi has been in the health supplement business for years,” Butler wrote in an email. “He has brokered arrangements with companies that he understands then sold to FSS but those were part of his normal business. There is not any informal relationship with FSS or any Alex Jones-related businesses other than Auriam’s financial services contract with FSS.”

    Free Speech’s ties extend to Jones’ personal trainer. Patrick Riley—who has said he trained Jones and Jones’ father and worked for Free Speech—recently began operating Blue Asension Logistics LLC to take on fulfillment logistics work for Free Speech. In August, Jones agreed to send Blue Asension $400,000 to clear sales order backlogs, Riley said.

    The bankruptcy judge also charged Haselden with investigating roughly $62 million withdrawn by Free Speech’s “members,” according to disclosures. The company’s only member is Jones.

    “If proven, this could bring significant monies into the bankruptcy for distribution to the non-insider creditors,” Cyganowski said.

    Creditors have questioned Free Speech over reports that Jones has recently collected millions of dollars in cryptocurrency donations. Jones said in Connecticut state court recently that he’s received about $9 million worth of cryptocurrency to his personal cryptocurrency wallet through donations solicited from Infowars.

    All but about $60,000 worth of that cryptocurrency has gone back into Free Speech to shore up the business, Jones said.

    ‘Potentially Incurable’

    The court hasn’t found any wrongdoing in Free Speech’s connections or transactions. But the sheer amount of “potentially incurable conflicts of interest” makes them subject to scrutiny, said Alan Rosenberg of Markowitz Ringel Trusty & Hartog PA.

    The law doesn’t prevent a debtor from engaging in business with friends or family, but it’s “unrealistic” to expect that the debtor will impartially investigate potential wrongdoing within its own familial and social circle, Rosenberg said.

    “If there is a legal basis to avoid PQPR’s claim, can we really expect Alex Jones/Free Speech systems to pursue it?” Rosenberg said. “Of course not – and that is not specific to Alex Jones or Free Speech Systems. These kinds of conflicts arise in many cases.”

    https://news.bloomberglaw.com/esg/in...s-in-spotlight

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