Jury selection begins Thursday in Alex Jones’ CT Sandy Hook trial

NEWTOWN — Just days after a Texas jury decided Alex Jones should pay $49.2 million in defamation damages to parents of a slain Sandy Hook boy, a new trial for other families Jones defamed will begin in Waterbury on Thursday with jury selection.

News that jury selection will begin in a trial that will determine how much Jones should pay eight Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent he defamed comes one day after a federal judge in Bridgeport stripped Jones of protection he was seeking when he put the parent company of his conspiracy merchandising platform Infowars into bankruptcy.

At stake is the future of Jones as the face of America’s conspiracy community and the fate of 15 people Jones defamed when he called the 2012 shooting of 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School “staged,” “synthetic,” “manufactured,” “a giant hoax,” and “completely fake with actors.”

“I am looking forward to taking this to the jury,” said Norm Pattis, a high-profile New Haven attorney who is running Jones’ defense in Connecticut. “We have heard what the plaintiff’s have had to say about this case ad nauseam, and now we want to hear what the jury says.”

Pattis has his own date with the judge overseeing the defamation awards trial on Wednesday, when he is scheduled to answer if he did anything improper by sharing with another attorney confidential medical records of Sandy Hook families that are protected under a court order.

The families’ lead attorney did not comment Tuesday after state Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis put the trial back into motion — a decision that was expected after Connecticut bankruptcy judge Julie Manning ruled Monday that the jury award trial could proceed while Jones’ parent company Free Speech Systems sorted out its debt in Chapter 11 proceedings.

Jones himself has not filed bankruptcy. He has between $135 million and $270 million, said an expert who was called to testify by the parents in the Texas case.

In a second Texas case, a jury will decide how much Jones should pay for defaming the parents of another slain Sandy Hook first-grader.

News that the largest and most complicated of the three Sandy Hook defamation awards trial will be underway in Waterbury on Thursday follows two weeks of explosive testimony and confrontation in a Texas courtroom on Jones’ home turf where observers watched as Jones and the two parents of slain first-grader Jesse Lewis spoke about the effects of denying that the worst crime in Connecticut history happened.

At one dramatic point from the witness stand, for example, Jesse Lewis’ mother Scarlett Lewis asked Jones if he still believed she was a crisis actor. No, Jones responded, he no longer believed that.

During closing arguments one of the parents’ attorneys named Kyle Farrar said of Jones, “You killed (the parents’) ability to get over the loss of their children.”

It was not immediately clear on Tuesday whether the Sept. 6 date for the start of the Connecticut trial will be affected by the bankruptcy interruption, which stopped the opening day of jury selection on Aug. 2. Attorneys for both sides said jury selection will continue up to Labor Day, and could conceivably be wrapped up in time to start opening arguments on schedule.

This marks the second time this year that Jones put an entity he controls in bankruptcy protection on the eve of a defamation awards trial, only to have the maneuver fail.

Jones did the same thing in April one week before the trial that just concluded in Texas was to begin. In April, Jones put three shell companies he controls into federal bankruptcy protection. Sandy Hook families got the bankruptcy dismissed when they dropped the three shell companies from their lawsuit. It was an easy decision for the families. The three shell companies had a combined monthly income of $38,000. Jones himself made $76 million in 2019, his own representatives said.

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