Friday, September 29

Alex Jones can’t distract from pain of Sandy Hook

Trying to follow the testimony of Alex Jones on my phone Thursday, I occasionally thought the screen had frozen because of the way Jones sits, stock still, and head cocked upward like a tenuously trained toad.

Only tenuously, though. The toad can and did start barking at any moment. By the end of Thursday, Judge Barbara Bellis was so sick of Jones’ outbursts that she asked his attorney Norm Pattis: “Do you want me to stop your client from speaking? Physically, do you want me to stop him from speaking?”

Could you? Would you? Tape his mouth shut? Please, Judge Bellis.

I’m not serious. Turning Jones into a latter-day Bobby Seale would be a terrible idea, not least because Jones has placed himself in a financial arms race, apparently betting he can raise more money from his followers by squealing about his treatment of him than he’ll be charged in damages.

That is not a sure bet. One of the governing statutes is the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) which takes a rather expansive view of punitive damages. Jones has already been found liable by default. Now, to quote an old joke, we’re just haggling over the price.

Most defendants and their attorneys in situations like this adopt a crypto-trucking attitude toward the judge. That ship sailed to Middle Earth ages ago and will never return. By Thursday, Jones’ damages trial over his Sandy Hook lies had gone full Bickersons, including:

  1. Jones roared out his objections to plaintiffs’ attorney Chris Mattei’s tactics. While questioning Jones about his callous on-air mistreatment of Sandy Hook’s father Robbie Parker, Mattei played a video of Parker’s tearful speech from him after the killing of his daughter from him Emilie. Jones spluttered: “Is this a struggle session? Are we in China? (Struggle sessions were rallies at which enemies of the Maoists were beaten and humiliated.)
  2. Pattis objecting to Mattei’s line of questioning while Jones yelled back at Mattei in such a loud and unbroken manner that he did not hear (or possibly did not care about) Bellis sustaining Pattis’s objection. Bellis, clearly operating in an undiscovered country, tried to get the defendant’s attention: “Let me finish. Look at me. I sustained his objection to him, and you answered it anyway.”
  3. The judge directly chewing out Pattis: “Attorney Pattis! Attorney Pattis! Attorney Pattis! How many times do I have to say when I’m speaking, you stop? You have been a member of the bar for a long time…” Pattis, who will never be mistaken for Sam Ervin in temperament and bearing, seemed at other moments frustrated with Jones’ shenanigans. He should set a better example.
  4. Jones undermining his own case with his out-of-court antics. On his website and on the steps of the courthouse, Jones slings around the phrase “kangaroo court” more than a jolly bagman on trial in Perth. On Thursday, Jones volunteered (as opposed to having been asked) that he apologized to Parker. Mattei pounced, citing a recent episode of Jones’ show when he announced that he had never apologized for anything. (When Mattei directly quotes Jones, he tends to yell the way Jones does. It doesn’t seem like this ends him to Bellis, who is trying to keep her courtroom from turning into a Judge Judy episode about an especially bitter hairpiece dispute.)
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Ordinarily, a circus like this one could be fun, but here in Connecticut, we’re grimly aware of how circuses catch fire. Sandy Hook is and probably always will be the saddest thing in our world. In the newsroom where I work, there are occasional conversations about covering the upcoming 10-year anniversary, and my heart always darkens. I know some of these parents.

When you strip away Jones’ buffoonery, the trial is still about slaughtered children and teachers and the additional pain visited on the survivors by the army of goblins who answer to Jones’ battle cry. Driving this point home, the Law and Crime Network had to shut down the comments section on its YouTube stream Thursday because of posters threatening the parents.

The other thing the trial is about is money. Jones collects bushels of it by being the kind of guy who would say, over and over, that Sandy Hook was just a bunch of actors scamming the public to leverage stronger gun laws.

At one point Thursday, Mattei, trying to drive home what a tacky bunco artist Jones really is, said to him, “Eight million dollars in bitcoin was donated through this page to you personally, correct?” Jones, unable to restrain himself, said it was more like $9 million.

Jones will try to say that the money he collects from his brain and diet and DNA supplements, from his latest book and video, will get plowed back into the mission of his website and his company as he continues his selfless battle against globalism, liberals and Chi-Coms.

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Don’t believe it. This was always about wealth and power and the quest of this twisted man to fill in his own psychic chasm with valorization

It almost gets funny in that courtroom sometimes, and then the camera pans away from the bench and the witness stand, and you see parents dabbing at their eyes and clutching each other’s hands.

It’s not funny. But when court adjourned Thursday, the stellar New York Times reporter Elizabeth Williamson could hear Jones in an adjacent room.

He was laughing.

Colin McEnroe’s column appears every Sunday, his newsletter comes out every Tuesday and you can hear his radio show every weekday on WNPR 90.5. Email him at [email protected]. Sign up for his free newsletter at

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