Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Alex Jones Loses Right to Criticize Sandy Hook

AP reports:
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones arrived at a Texas courthouse for his defamation trial for calling the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack a hoax with the words "Save the 1st" scrawled on tape covering his mouth.

Although Jones portrays the lawsuit against him as an assault on the First Amendment, the parents who sued him say his statements were so malicious and obviously false that they fell well outside the bounds of speech protected by the constitutional clause.

The ongoing trial in Austin, which is where Jones' far-right Infowars website and its parent company are based, stems from a 2018 lawsuit brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son was killed in the 2012 attack along with 19 other first-graders and six educators.

Jones took the stand Aug. 2 in his own defense.

Here's a look at how the case relates to the First Amendment:

Are all defamation lawsuits First Amendment cases?

They are. Defamation laws evolved through decades of U.S. Supreme Court rulings on what is and isn't protected speech.

The defamation was only $50,000 out of the $50,000,000 verdict. Defamation was just the excuse to try to bankrupt and silence Alex Jones.

It is all part of a broader leftist plot to censor the Right. Slate writes:

Of course, any expectation that any given legal proceeding—such as the Mueller probe, Trumps two impeachments, and even the very effective Jan. 6 committee hearings—might lift us out of the misinformation quagmire in which we find ourselves has proven again and again to be too fanciful.
They will never be satisfied until Trump and all Trump supported are jailed or silenced.

This is how it was put in court:

“I am asking you to take the bullhorn away from Alex Jones and all of the others who believe they can profit off of fear and misinformation,” Wesley Ball said in his closing argument Friday. “The gold rush of fear and misinformation must end, and it must end today."
Sandy Hook was a huge public news event, and the people involved, politicians, and others used it for advocating changes in the law. The public needed the truth, but important details were concealed. A free society needs skeptics to challenge the official narrative.

Alex Jones lost this case on some legal technicalities. The opposition lawyer admitted that he improperly obtained all Alex Jones' cell phone data, beyond what he was entitled to, and used that to embarrass Jones. So Jones got out-lawyered, and the judge obviously did not like him. But he still should not be silenced for expressing an opinion about a public event.

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