Often speaking directly to InfoWars host Alex Jones, the mother of a 6-year-old child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre testified on Tuesday that the right-wing conspiracy theorist’s lies that the attack was a hoax left her in fear for her life and compounded her grief.
“Having a 6 year old son shot in front of his class is unbearable and you don’t think you’re going to survive and then have someone on top of that perpetuate a lie that it was a hoax, that it was a false flag “Said Scarlett Lewis during her testimony. “I don’t think you understand the fear that you are perpetuating, not only towards the family of the victim, but also towards our family, our friends and any survivors of this school.
Jesse Lewis, along with 19 of his fellow freshmen and six educators, were killed after a gunman entered their school in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012.
Lewis and Jesse’s father, Neil Heslin, is among several Sandy Hook families who have sued Jones, claiming his statements that the attack was a hoax led to years of abuse by his supporters. The parents, who both testified on Tuesday, asked Jones to pay $150 million for defamation and willful infliction of emotional distress.
“The ripple effect is huge because of the platform you have. And the fear that comes from that stops the healing and the grieving process,” Lewis told Jones during his testimony.
Lewis testified that she received death threats and that her family and friends were also harassed by Jones supporters.
Lewis described an incident where an individual drove into her driveway in Connecticut one Christmas morning and began taking pictures of her and her home. She said she felt unsafe and had to keep a gun in her home for the sake of her surviving son.
“I’m a single mom and responsible for the safety of my two boys and I haven’t been able to keep one safe so I’m going to keep my surviving son safe,” Lewis said in moving testimony.
Jones, who described the lawsuit as an attack on his First Amendment rights, also spoke out on Tuesday and told Lewis and Heslin that he “never intentionally tried to hurt you.”
Later in his testimony, however, he said his views on Sandy Hook stemmed from signs he saw that it was a “man-made” event, manipulated by outside forces.
He also blamed “corporate media” several times during his testimony, saying they lie and distort truths, causing him to question everything reported.
Heslin, Jesse’s father, told jurors the pain of losing his son was compounded by Jones’ assertion that he never existed.
“It’s very important to me to have this trial and the testimony today to hold Alex Jones accountable,” he said. Statements from Infowars and Alex Jones have repeatedly tarnished Jesse.
The crux of the lawsuit is a 2017 episode of “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly,” in which Heslin appeared and challenged Jones’ refusal to fire. Heslin says in the episode, “I held my son with a bullet hole in his head.”
Jones and another Infowars host, Owen Shroyer, later implied that Heslin lied.
“I can’t even describe the last nine and a half years of hell that I and others have had to endure because of Alex Jones’ negligence and recklessness.”
Judges in Texas and Connecticut have already entered default judgments against Jones, which found him liable for defamation for pushing the Sandy Hook prank claim. Jones’ trial did not take place because he did not respond to court orders and did not turn over the documents.
That lawsuit began last week and is taking place in Austin, where Jones’ Infowars website and its parent company are based.
“My goal is to hold Alex Jones accountable and to be able to walk out of this courthouse very soon with all of this behind me and get on with my life.”
Jones was absent from court during Heslin’s testimony, as he went live on his show and mocked Heslin as “slow” and “on the spectrum”. He said the father was “manipulated by very bad people”.
Lawyers for Lewis and Heslin admitted a recording of Jones’ comments Tuesday morning into evidence and played it before the jury.
Jones will continue his testimony on Wednesday. Outside the ears of the jury, Jones was reprimanded by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble for violating orders specifying that he was not allowed to discuss his finances and for offering answers that were too far removed from the questions being asked.
“When you come back to testify tomorrow, once again, no asides,” the judge said. “Answer only the question posed to you.”
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have all removed InfoWars and Jones from their platforms.
Facebook pages owned by Jones or InfoWars had a total of more than 2.5 million subscribers, and Jones’ YouTube account had 2.4 million subscribers when the accounts were taken down in 2018.
Jones had around 900,000 Twitter followers and InfoWars had around 430,000 when those were taken down, also in 2018.