Jones during his testimony in court on September 22nd. Screenshot via Law and Crime/YouTube.
Alex Jones appeared briefly on the stand Thursday in Connecticut, where he made slamming, messy and largely unhelpful testimony in the defamation case brought against him by a group of Sandy Hook families. In an exchange, plaintiffs’ attorney Chris Mattei asked if Jones encouraged his audience to donate cryptocurrency to him; Jones leaned forward and spoke the crypto donation site into the microphone.
“Is that a little advertisement?” Mattei said in disbelief.
“We’re fighting the Deep State, we need money,” Jones replied.
“This will end up being a clip for you on your show tonight, won’t it?” answered Mattei.
Of course, that’s exactly what happened: This testimonial has appeared repeatedly on Infowars over the past 24 hours, with the crypto website address as a graphic overlaid on top. (In the part of his statement where Jones encouraged the “big whales” to keep giving him big donations, Infowars also included some whale sounds.)
Videos of Jones’ testimony – particularly the parts ranked in context as the most bizarre, shocking, or crisis-ridden – loop on Infowars and are endlessly repurposed into her show. Sometime Thursday night, Infowars host and Jones impersonator Owen Shroyer simply played Jones’ testimony, occasionally chiming in with what was meant to be sly sides from the world’s most sycophantic hype man.
Jones jumped at the chance to make video content of the trial, but it’s really more fundamental than using publicity to sell his wares or gain attention: he appears to only be using his attendance at court to generate material Depiction of an alternate reality in which he is the victim of an unprecedented persecution. On Thursday, he came to life during his testimony when he saw an opening and otherwise slumped: bored, barely responsive and unable to remember much. On Friday morning, his attorney, Norm Pattis, announced that Jones would not be returning to the witness stand to be questioned by Pattis, but would instead be flying back to Texas. (Pattis expressed a likely doomed hope that the court move would “lower the temperature.”)
Jones exited the courthouse and immediately held a press conference outside, where, again animated, he beamed into a tight ring of television cameras, shouting that he was the victim of a “show trial” that was “already manipulated” and unsubstantiated claims that Mattei’s family was a mafia-like entity that controls Connecticut. He also suggested – and this is where reality and unreality combine – that the jury should research the case themselves, something totally against the rules and potentially triggering a mistrial.
This led to a flurry of activity in the courtroom, which Jones was not present for. After a discussion with both attorneys, Judge Barbara Bellis had to remind the jury not to investigate the case of their own and sent them home for the day. Against a backdrop of bushes that appeared to be somewhere near the courthouse, Jones jubilantly announced he would be returning to Austin this weekend for an “emergency broadcast.” (Then he headed into a lush-looking field to finally rant about the “ethnic cleansing of Russians” in Russia’s war against Ukraine.)
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An endless number of articles and video clips about the trial now populate Infowars: “Sandy Hook Lawyer Attempts To Force Alex Jones To Undergo Communist Struggle Session,” one reads, with the Dec, “Armed Justice System Used to Eviscerate and Shut Down First Amendment Infowars down, but Alex Jones won’t go down without a fight!” Everything links to the Infowars store, the crypto fundraiser site, or an entity that will ultimately make Alex Jones money; more fundamentally, it represents a reality distinct from that which everyone else is able to observe.
Jones is a creature of the internet and he understands, perhaps better than the lawyers, how his clips are viewed in their natural environment. It hardly matters how sweaty, red, angry, and ill-prepared he seems in court, as long as a minute-long segment can be crafted into something flattering and commercially viable. At worst (for him), the performance will leave some viewers with some minor doubts about the fundamental integrity of the process; at best, those who already see him as a martyr will become more passionate in their faith, and some of those who don’t will be influenced.
The fundamental question before the court is not so much the amount of damages as whether it is even possible to hold him accountable, or whether he is simply continuing the work he has been doing all along – making our world more like his . In the meantime, the court case is just B-roll for him, and everyone — the attorneys, the Sandy Hook plaintiffs who’ve been through so much, the obliging press who ask him questions while he yells to the wind — play her helpful part.