Newtown families: Alex Jones fails to show up for deposition
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Infowars host Alex Jones failed to show up and testify under oath at a deposition Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, leading the families’ lawyer to call for Jones’ arrest if he doesn’t appear again Thursday.
Jones, whose attorney said he missed the deposition because of an appointment for undisclosed medical conditions, was scheduled to testify Wednesday and Thursday in Austin, Texas, where Infowars is based, in connection with the relatives’ defamation lawsuit against him for saying the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax.
Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis found Jones liable for damages in November. A trial on how much he should pay the families is set to begin in August.
Bellis on Wednesday ordered Jones to appear at the deposition Thursday and warned he would be in contempt of her order if he doesn’t show. She denied a request by the families’ lawyer, Christopher Mattei, to issue an arrest order to have Jones brought to the proceeding if he fails to attend again, but said Mattei could seek to subpoena Jones and request sanctions against him.
Mattei said he would seek a subpoena in Texas if the judge didn’t approve his request for an arrest order.
“This, in our view, was a cowardly display intended to cheat the plaintiffs of their right to put him under oath,” Mattei said at a news conference, “and ask him questions about why over the course of many years he lied about them, he lied about the loved ones that they lost at Sandy Hook and why he unleashed a barrage of harassment over many years that continues to this day.”
Jones’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, filed new court documents late Wednesday afternoon that included letters from two doctors who said they advised Jones not to attend the deposition because of his medical conditions. Pattis also asked Bellis to postpone the deposition, but she denied the request.
In the court filing, Pattis wrote Jones’ doctor was “so alarmed” by his observations of Jones on Monday that he advised him to go to an emergency room or call 911. Jones refused and his doctor advised him to stay home, Pattis said.
On Tuesday, however, Jones broadcasted his daily website show at the Infowars studio in Austin, his lawyers said. He did not appear in person on the show Wednesday, but he provided commentary by phone including pre-recorded segments for portions of the program. He did not discuss the deposition or his medical conditions at the beginning of the show.
Jones underwent an exam by another doctor and medical testing Wednesday, Pattis said. The doctor, Amy Offutt, wrote in a letter that she examined Jones for “acute medical issues that were time-sensitive and potentially serious” and lab tests were pending.
Twenty first graders and six educators were killed in the 2012 shooting. The families of eight of the victims and an FBI agent who responded to school sued Jones, Infowars and others, saying they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers because of the hoax conspiracy. Jones has since said he believes the shooting did occur.