Connecticut’s highest court heard opening arguments Thursday on whether conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was wrongly penalized for an outburst against a lawyer for families of Sandy Hook Elementary School victims.
A judge overseeing the lawsuit sanctioned Jones in June for an angry outburst on his show against the families' attorney, Christopher Mattei. The judge barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Jones’ attorney, Norm Pattis, told justices that Jones was wrongly penalized for exercising his First Amendment rights.
“Alex Jones speaks in the vein of conspiracy theorists as conspiracy theorists have spoken in this country since the founding. Read, literally, the allegations in the Declaration of Independence.”
Attorneys for the families said Jones’ words were a threat against the attorney’s life and that the judge’s decision on Jones was justified.
“Despite his contempt and disdain and efforts to disrupt and his threats, she gave him another chance. She treated him with due regard to his rights, even though he could not have more contempt, to an audience of millions.”
Relatives of eight of 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 shooting in Newtown are suing Jones, his Infowars show, and others for defamation for claiming that the shooting was a hoax. They say the claim caused them emotional harm and led to death threats.