Alex Jones skipped his Sandy Hook deposition again
JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:
For the second day in a row, Infowars host Alex Jones missed a court-ordered deposition. He was sued four years ago for defamation by families of victims killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Jones has repeatedly claimed that those killings never happened. Connecticut Public Radio's Frank Graziano has been following this case. Hey, Frankie.
FRANKIE GRAZIANO, BYLINE: How are you? Thank you for having me.
SUMMERS: Thanks for being here. Frankie, Jones was a no-show yesterday, again today. Why is he skipping these depositions?
GRAZIANO: His attorneys say he's got an undisclosed illness. They say he's been advised not to show up for a deposition until he's been cleared by a doctor. The plaintiffs and the judge, they both have their doubts about Jones' intentions here. An attorney for the plaintiffs named Chris Mattei called the absences a, quote, "cowardly attempt by Jones to avoid answering questions about his Sandy Hook theories." Mattei points out the deposition's been moved multiple times.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
CHRIS MATTEI: It's ironic because Mr. Jones has been on his show repeatedly saying that, you know, these lawsuits are an effort to silence him, to take him off the air. Well, this was his opportunity to speak.
GRAZIANO: And then there's the judge, who found earlier this week that Jones left his home to broadcast his show at the same time his lawyer was telling her he had to remain home under doctor's orders. She used that against Jones in ordering him to show up today unless he was hospitalized. Don't know if that's the case. His attorneys won't say where he is.
SUMMERS: OK. So, if I remember correctly, the judge in this case ruled in favor of the Sandy Hook families back in November. So explain to me, how is it that Jones has already been found liable, yet the parties are still headed to trial?
GRAZIANO: Yes. All that's left is for a jury to decide on the penalty for Jones, how much he'll pay for what he's done. In following the court filing since 2018, they've got him in there calling the shooting a giant hoax, seen tape of him on Infowars bringing up the shooting and saying everything about it's fake, calling one of the mothers out for smiling when greeting someone at a news conference and crying the next minute.
And then there's the conduct of Jones' lawyers as this case has played out, not just in Connecticut, but in a similar case in Texas, where families also sued Jones. Jones lost both cases because his lawyers' conduct during discovery. The judge in Connecticut says they engaged in willful non-compliance. The family's attorney, Mattei, who you just heard from, says the Jones defense withheld evidence, even fabricated evidence. A lot of things have gone against Jones, and yet there's still a hunger for the family's attorneys to get him on the record in that deposition.
SUMMERS: From what you know now, does it sound like they're ever going to get that chance?
GRAZIANO: It doesn't appear he'll be deposed. His attorneys say he won't sit for one until he's cleared by a doctor. And Jones' attorney, Norm Pattis, last words in a written statement we got today were we look forward to a trial. And then there's a looming deadline in the case for the plaintiffs. Currently, they've got to get the deposition in before March 31. They can ask for an extension, but that could delay the trial, which is scheduled to start in September. And this is a four-year-old case that's already seen its time-consuming twists and turns, from Jones trying to get the case moved to the U.S. Supreme Court, to them trying to have the judge recuse herself. Now you got this deposition deal. Always a chance the judge can compel Jones to testify. The plaintiffs have asked her to have him arrested, but she hasn't done something like that yet.
SUMMERS: All right. That is Connecticut Public Radio's Frankie Graziano. Thank you.
GRAZIANO: Thank you.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.