Today is the fifth day of the trial in Waterbury, Connecticut, to determine how much Alex Jones will have to pay in damages to the families of eight victims (and one FBI agent) of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
The suit was filed against Jones in 2018. He failed to cooperate with the plaintiffs’ lawyers, hand over requested documents, and was generally such a pain in the ass to the judge that he lost by default judgment.
The trial, which is being livestreamed in its entirety on YouTube by the Law & Crime channel, has had thousands of viewers each day since it began last week, although Jones himself has yet to testify.
As always on Law & Crime’s streams, there are hundreds of active and colorful commenters, but trial viewers and Twitter users had noted from day one that the chat was littered with the same conspiracy theories that Jones now faces paying damages for.
The chat was so overrun with people making threats toward the victims’ families and suggesting that the shooting had never occurred that the Law & Crime channel disabled the chat function on Tuesday and removed archived chats from the previous days’ trial livestreams as well.
When reached for comment, Law & Crime provided us with the following: "Law & Crime's YouTube channel has a robust and engaged comments section where, on a daily basis, thousands of commenters come to discuss and debate the day's legal events and trials. Unfortunately, as the Alex Jones trial got underway, we noticed a disturbing number of commenters making threatening comments including harassment towards the victims' families. As a result, we decided to disable the comments section for this trial. Despite having covered many controversial cases, we have never before taken such a drastic measure. It also was not a tough call here." - Rachel Stockman, President at Law & Crime"
The livestream video on Tuesday morning included this note: “L&C has turned off the comments section on the Alex Jones stream due to threatening comments toward victims' families.”
Although there was never a trial to determine the extent of his defamation, the damages portion has been informative for anyone unacquainted with the conspiracy theories surrounding Sandy Hook.
Jones for years suggested that the shooting was a “false flag” operation staged by actors with the goal of getting the Second Amendment overturned.
Suggesting that the footage on the scene in Newtown in the aftermath of the shooting looked like a “bad elementary school play,” Jones had inspired his many listeners and viewers to adopt his bogus views and deny that the mass shooting ever happened.
And clearly, his fans are still among us.
This story has been updated with comment from Law & Crime.