The Trial of Alex Jones

Published 4 months ago -

Caroline Branch, Staff Writer

On Sept. 13, Alex Jones, a far-right pundit and host of Infowars began his second trial in the defamation case against the families of those who lost their lives in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Jones has claimed, since April 2013, that the Sandy Hook shooting was a “government operation” with “inside job written all over it” during an Infowars broadcast. He recently admitted that he believes the tragedy to be a real event, but has not accepted his role in the continued harassment of the families. 

This trial, which takes place in Waterbury, CT, is to finally hold Mr. Jones responsible for the harm his claims have had on the lives of those connected to the event. According to NPR, Jones has already been found liable for his lies after a Texas lawsuit ordered him to pay $49.3 million dollars to the parents of 6 year-old victim Jesse Lewis. The Connecticut case is expected to cost Jones more because it includes three lawsuits representing fifteen plaintiffs. Jones’s defense is that his actions are covered under the First Amendment freedom of Speech. 

Since the trial started on Sept. 13, several witnesses have taken the stand against the Infowars host for his involvement in spreading misinformation and causing harm to the plaintiffs, says The Washington Post. Several relatives of the victims and an FBI agent who was a part of the response team that day have opened up about the effects Jones and his followers have inflicted upon them.

The first to take the stand was Carlee Soto Parisi, the sister of Vicki Soto, a first grade teacher killed at Sandy Hook. Soto Parisi testimony included the widely circulated photograph of her devastation at the news of her sister’s death that ignited fake claims that Carlee Soto Parisi was an actor hired for this ‘government conspiracy.’ She also described her ruins with those who continue to believe this conspiracy. At a 5k organized in her sisters honor in 2015, Matthew Mills of Brooklyn accosted Ms. Soto Parisi and her family claimed that the tragedy didn’t happen. Mr. Mills was arrested and charged with breach of peace. 

“It’s hurtful, it’s devastating, it’s crippling,” Ms. Soto Parisi said in an NPR article about the trial. “You can’t breathe properly, because you’re constantly defending yourself and your family.” 

After Ms. Soto Parisi testified, William Aldenberg of the FBI took the stand. Mr. Aldenberg, a first responder to the tragedy, struggled with emotion as he described his horror when he entered the school. Mr. Aldenberg, according to The Washington Post, was also believed to be a ‘crisis actor’ due to his resemblance to David Wheeler, whose son Ben was a victim. This theory brought much harassment and threats to both Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Aldenberg. 

Mr. Aldenberg was seen to be weeping as he spoke about this case of mistaken identity while Mr. Wheeler stood in the gallery. Mr. Aldenberg said that even though he does not know how this theory started, he ‘“felt responsible” for Mr. Wheeler’s pain.

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