Alex Jones: the tumultuous beginnings of the trial of the powerful American conspirator

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Alex Jones: the tumultuous beginnings of the trial of the powerful American conspirator
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The influential Trumpist activist was sued for defamation for naming the shooting at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, in 2012, as a “hoax”. He will have to pay more than four million dollars to the parents of one of the victims.

L’influent théoricien du complot Alex Jones, lors de son procès en diffamation à Austin, au Texas, le mercredi 3 août 2022. Le fondateur d’InfoWars affirme désormais qu’il ne nie plus la réalité de la tuerie de Sandy Hook.

From September 11 to SARS-CoV-2, Alex Jones fired all the counters – paranoid stories to attract an ever wider audience. Having become the figurehead of Anglo-Saxon conspiracy, he had 900,000 followers on Twitter and his Facebook and YouTube pages gathered more than 2.4 million followers before he was banned from it in 2018. The one who was qualified by Steve Bannon, the former director of the far-right American site Breitbart News, the greatest American thinker since the Founding Fathers, has long asserted that the Sandy Hook massacre did not really take place.

Among the first to deny the reality of the killing

From the days following this mass murder, Alex Jones described the attack as staged, orchestrated by Barack Obama with a view to abolishing the second amendment, which guarantees every American citizen the right to carry a weapon. Its InfoWars site quickly contributed to spreading the idea, now commonplace in conspiratorial thinking, that “actors of crisis ” would be hired to play extras in tears during television reports on killings, themselves fictitious , in order to manipulate public opinion. Sandy Hook would be a vast manipulation; and bereaved parents, comedians.

In 2017, InfoWars accuses among others Neil Heslin, the father of little Jesse, to lie when he claims that he held his son in his arms, the skull crossed by a bullet. He takes up the argument, very widespread in conspiratorial spheres, that the bodies of the children would never have been shown. In 2021, the bereaved father is in despair:

“There was an open casket, 5,000 people saw Jesse. You realize ? So how can Alex [Jones] or [his partner] Owen Shroyer say that I didn’t hold my son, that I didn’t see him? ».

Neil Heslin has since been harassed by Alex Jones’ followers, who accuse him of lying. Along with his wife, he is now suing the founder of InfoWars and his associates for defamation. The charismatic conspiratorial entrepreneur, a fervent Trumpist who has lost ground since the departure of the former president from the White House, faces a fine of more than 150 million dollars. If he were to pay this sum, InfoWars “would sink”, assures Alex Jones. At the end of July, he placed his parent company, Free Speech Systems, in bankruptcy.

A very ambiguous mea culpa

Since the opening of the trial on August 3, Mr. Jones has oscillated between provocative postures – chewing gum in his mouth, he repeats that this trial is an attack on his freedom of expression – and mea culpa. The Sandy Hook shooting was “100% real”, he now admits, assuring that he regrets having said for years that it was a trick. A sincere conspirator, he accuses the media of lying so often that it would have been impossible for him to trust them at the time, and explains that the meeting with the bereaved parents allowed him to admit the cruel reality.

Yet his remorse only seems to be a facade. In court, between two testimonies, he associated the judge with infamous conspiracy theories, or even violently attacked Scarlett Lewis to tell him that she was “manipulated”.

Emails sent by mistake

Above all, in an incredible misfire, Alex Jones’ lawyers have mistakenly sent a copy of all of the work text messages and emails contained on his mobile phone for the past two years to attorneys for Jesse Lewis’ parents. The handling error, revealed in court by their lawyer Mark Bankston, revealed that Alex Jones had lied several times since the start of his trial.

The entrepreneur assures that InfoWars has never brought him more than 200,000 dollars a day? His correspondence evokes peaks at $800,000 in 2018. His audience has been falling since his accounts on mainstream platforms like YouTube and Facebook ousted him? In fact, it continued to grow. He assures that he has not spoken for several years of the conspiracy theories surrounding Sandy Hook? However, they appear in conversations on his phone. “Do you know what perjury is?” “, sharply questioned Mark Bankston, recalling that in the United States lying under oath is severely punished .

The businessman did not dispute the authenticity of the documents, but regretted d giving his phone to his lawyers. ” I made a mistake. You have the messages ”, he was content to recognize, annoyed. These documents should play an important role in his lawsuit for defamation linked to the Sandy Hook shootings, but not only. According to the website of the American magazine Rolling Stone, the committee of inquiry into the riots of January 6, 2021 in Washington is preparing to seize the correspondence of the influential American conspirator. She wonders, in particular, if he had contact with Donald Trump’s teams before the assault on the Capitol.

William Audureau

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