Sandy Hook judge holds Alex Jones in contempt

Alex Jones appears in a still image extracted from an interrogation video. The recording was posted to YouTube by online news outlet HuffPost.

A Connecticut judge issued a contempt verdict against the conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host on Wednesday afternoon Alex Jones. Fines of $25,000 a day will be imposed beginning Friday unless Jones sits for testimony, but the fines will be returned if Jones actually makes the testimony, which he omitted last week over alleged health concerns.

The lawsuit concerns alleged defamatory statements Jones made against the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook, Connecticut school shooting.

“The argument relates to the plaintiffs’ request for sanctions,” he says Barbara Bellis said at the beginning of the 47-minute hearing. “This is not a press conference,” she continued, while warning attorneys not to discuss settlement offers, which plaintiffs were summarily rejected Tuesday night.

Christopher Matteian attorney for the plaintiffs said he did not want to “burden” the court with all the facts while he and his co-attorney tried to get Jones’ testimony in Texas last week.

Mattei said Jones was asked to take part in a deposition on March 24-25 but failed. Mattei said Jones “willfully” refused to appear, although the defense attorney admitted Jones knew he had to appear.

“We believe the records show these orders were clear and direct,” Mattei said.

Plaintiffs’ counsel noted that Jones appeared on his own show when he was scheduled to appear for testimony.

Mattei asked the court to “set conditions” that would “compel” Jones to testify.

Citing a “long track record of conduct,” plaintiffs also asked the court to “Mr. Locking Jones up until he gets rid of his contempt.” The plaintiffs also sought a fine for Jones because he could not sit and speak.

Jones would rather face the wrath of the court than be deposed, Mattei suggested. He asked the judge to issue an injunction that “Mr. Jones’ calculus would change’.

The plaintiffs also sought reimbursement of costs and fees for the ongoing fight.

Mattei said he hoped any decision by the judge would force Jones to “think about it.” [upon] the seriousness of the offense he committed last week” by failing to appear.

Mattei also said the plaintiffs asked for a warrant that would allow the jury to draw adverse conclusions about Jones’ refusal to testify.

Cameron Atkinsonan attorney for Jones said in a ponderous, monotonous manner that he had a “shaky internet connection” for the remote hearing but would try to move on.

“Mr. Jones acknowledges that plaintiffs have a right to testify,” Atkinson said. “In my opinion he has served three in cases relating to the Sandy Hook litigation in Texas.”

“What happened here is that he ended up listening to his doctor’s advice,” Atkinson continued. “First and today there was an uncontested record before this court and there still is that Mr Jones’ doctors thought his condition was serious enough to require emergency medical care and they gave precautionary advice which is a recommendation for him go to the emergency room immediately.”

The judge intervened, asking whether the court had the authority to rule on whether the medical advice was “correct.”

Atkinson said it would be “crazy” if the judge didn’t do her job as a judge. “What has been presented to you shows beyond any reasonable doubt,” he continued, that Jones’ doctors “made those recommendations.”

“Mr. Jones had no desire to go to the ER and most of us would share his lack of enthusiasm to go to the ER,” Atkinson added.

“It took some convincing before he realized the seriousness of his condition. . . to avoid stress,” Atkinson continued.

Atkinson claimed Jones never tried to escape testimony — only to have it postponed until his “doctors gave him permission to sit for it.”

Atkinson then praised the stress that would result from two days of affidavits.

“There was nothing on the record,” the judge said, to indicate that Jones’ doctor even knew what an affidavit was.

“This court should not despise Mr. Jones,” Atkinson continued. “If he had escalating symptoms that required hospitalization . . . he does not have to take part in his testimony,” the attorney said in an attempt to recap an earlier decision by the judge.

The judge again intervened to correct Atkinson’s claims.

“I was never given any evidence that he had escalating symptoms,” the judge said.

Atkinson said he needed more time to examine the evidence supporting Jones’ alleged medical condition.

He said Jones faced a “difficult choice” – one that was “extraordinarily difficult”: The “impact on his health could prove disastrous” if he sat for testimony or risked sanctions for acting for himself would worry, the defense attorney claimed while stumbling over his words.

“We freely admit that he did not listen to his doctors’ initial recommendations,” Atkinson said.

The judge again threw in a few comments to clear up the “record.” But she said she was “delighted” to see the defendant filed some briefs a day earlier.

“That could be because I got the deadline wrong,” Atkinson said.

The judge, as if to coddle Atkinson, said he did an “excellent job” with the documents.

“We believe the court should not despise Mr. Jones,” Atkinson reiterated. But when the court did, he asked the court not to issue a warrant. “All right . . . that Mr. Jones had some health issues . . . we would submit issuing a warrant for his arrest . . . would only serve to compound those health concerns . . . that alone should speak against issuing this warrant. “

Atkinson again claimed that Jones knows he will one day have to attend a testimony. He suggested that “escalating fines” would be enough to “earn” Jones’ participation in a deposition.

Atkinson then reiterated suggestions that society had “put off” on doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was not an act taken in bad faith,” Atkinson said of Jones’ failure to appear.

Mattei responded that Jones should be forced to show up in Connecticut since he failed to show up in his home state of Texas to get deposed. He also noted that the records say nothing about what Jones’ current health status might be. Mattei suggested that Jones’ illness may have been simply “sinus congestion.”

The judge gave Atkinson one more chance to respond to the filing location — though she said she wouldn’t normally give him a chance. She added that it was strange that the defense attorney had not offered a date for testimony in the future to settle the matter.

Atkinson said Jones was unavailable in early and late April — in part due to other legal battles in Texas. He said Jones could be made available around April 11th. He added that the court would be “within its jurisdiction” to order Jones to appear in Muscat State for the sit-and-talk session.

“I’m somewhat hesitant to put this on record, but we understand that plaintiff’s counsel enforces a fairly strict Covid protocol at his offices. . . something Mr. Jones is not prepared to do,” Atkinson added. “We ask that you take that into account.”

The judge then issued a verdict.

Summarizing Connecticut’s rules regarding testimony, she said she denied a request for a protective order from Jones and noted that testimony was scheduled for the 23rd and 24th.

The judge then slammed Jones for working in his studios instead of resting at home or taking care of his health.

“The letter falls far short,” the judge said, referring to a medical certificate submitted to the court regarding Jones’ medical condition.

Citing a previous decision, the judge said Jones could only use hospitalization as an excuse to avoid testifying. Because he was broadcasting during his alleged health crisis and not in the hospital, he was despised, the judge reasoned.

The judge lamented that the case had been raging for four years – and now, just weeks before jury selection, Jones has still not been removed.

Jury selection is scheduled for August; Evidence is due to be presented by September.

“The court finds, through clear and compelling evidence, that defendant Alex Jones willfully and maliciously violated, without cause, several clear court orders requiring his presence at testimony on March 23 and 24,” the judge said. She added that Jones “willfully failed to comply with the court’s orders and that there is no reasonable factual basis on which to explain his failure.”

The judge ordered Jones “every day of the week beginning Friday the 1st. In other words, on the second day the fine increases to $50,000 and so on, the judge said by way of example.

“The contempt will be removed when Jones has completed two full days of testimony,” the judge said.

She called the fines “mandatory” but “appropriate and necessary in this matter.”

The fines would be returned if Jones sits for testimony, the judge said. She said Jones tried to “fix” the court process by not sitting.

If Jones does not testify by April 15, the judge said the jury could reach negative conclusions about Jones’ failure.

The judge also said the plaintiffs are entitled to fees and costs related to the omitted testimonies.

[image via a YouTube screengrab of a previous deposition]

Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected] Sandy Hook judge holds Alex Jones in contempt

James Brien

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