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Story By John Murray

Four gargoyles were perched atop the Clock Tower in downtown Waterbury, Connecticut, and peered down onto Grand Street awaiting the arrival of InfoWars provocateur, Alex Jones, to Superior Court.

Gargoyles are believed to be guardians that protect buildings from evil and protect humans from demonic spirits.

There are eight gargoyles atop the 240-foot high clock tower in Waterbury, Connecticut, including four that loom over Grand Street, and the Waterbury Superior Court. Photograph by John Murray

Is the controversial Jones, a right-wing media personality and conspiracy theorist, a victim, or a demon? When you listen to him, Jones believes he is a victim of a Deep State trying to take away his free speech and demolish his news platform.

The InfoWars website, which Jones created, touts itself as, “The #1 Independent news service in the world, battling globalism and promoting a pro-human future worldwide.”

To others, especially in Connecticut, Alex Jones is a loathsome loudmouth who bullhorned across his influential platforms that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 was “completely fake” and “manufactured” by a Deep State trying to take guns away from the public. Jones has been sued by several Sandy Hook families for defamation and was in Waterbury Friday morning for the 8th day of trial.

The Deep State is a conspiracy theory championed by former president Donald Trump in which a clandestine network of actors in the federal government, finance and industry operate as a shadow government and possess the real power in the United States.

Alex Jones arrived at the Superior Court in Waterbury yesterday with a mix of style and bluster. He lambasted the “rigged” court proceedings and said he hadn’t been allowed to defend himself, which he proclaimed was un-American. Photograph by John Murray

Jones is an effusive talker and seizes moments in front of cameras to spin a tale where he is a victim of a vast conspiracy to crush him.

“The Deep State is going after all their political enemies and opponents and drive them onto welfare, to bankrupt them or put them in prison” he said Friday. “This is extremely dangerous. We’re supposed to be the land of the free, home of the brave and they’re using these dead children not just to try and get rid of the Second Amendment, but now the First Amendment.”

Sandy Hook is just 18 miles from Waterbury and the horrific murder of 26 people inside the school, including 20 children ages six and seven, was a gut punch to the city, and to the world. One of the murdered teachers was Rachel D’Avino, the daughter of a well-known Waterbury businessman, Ralph D’Avino, who owned Superior Transmission on Wolcott Road.

The 26 victims of the Sandy Hook mass shooting that took place in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. For nearly a decade Alex Jones broadcast it was a hoax.

The principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dawn Hochsprung, was raised in Naugatuck, just south of Waterbury, and she was gunned down while charging at the shooter trying to stop him.

The Connecticut State Police spokesperson in 2012 was Lt. J. Paul Vance, a Waterbury resident, who became a familiar face across the nation as he addressed the media in daily press briefings.

Six weeks after the shooting one hundred Broadway stars traveled to Waterbury for a special benefit inside the Palace Theater for Sandy Hook families.

Certainly Waterbury did not experience the emotional intensity that residents in Newtown and Sandy Hook felt, but it was personal, and many Waterburians knew someone devastated by the tragedy.

The Sandy Hook massacre drew headlines on InfoWars as the network spread baseless allegations that the entire incident had been a hoax, that the children weren’t real, and that the grieving parents were crisis actors in a false flag operation to upend the 2nd Amendment and take guns from private citizens.

Parents grieving the savage experience of having a child murdered in their first grade classroom were subsequently harassed online, received anonymous phone calls, were threatened, and in some incidences, shot at.

Sandy Hook families packed the courtroom on Thursday to come face to face with Alex Jones, who was grilled by their lawyer, Chris Mattei. Image from InfoWars website.

The families eventually fought back and filed several lawsuits against Alex Jones and InfoWars for defamation, one in Texas and one combined lawsuit in Connecticut involving 14 Sandy Hook families. In August 2022, Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old son, Jesse, was gunned down at inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, took the stand against Jones in a Texas courtroom.

“What was said about me and Sandy Hook itself resonates around the world,” Heslin testified. “As time went on, I truly realized how dangerous it was. My life has been threatened. I fear for my life, I fear for my safety.”

The Texas jury awarded Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis $50 million in damages. Scarlett Lewis also testified in Texas that Jones hoax claims had created a living hell for her as she has endured death threats, harassment, and ongoing trauma for the past decade.

In both the Texas case and Connecticut case Jones lost by default for not fully cooperating with court orders to produce documents. Judge Barbara Bellis ruled against Jones in Connecticut Superior Court for “non-compliance” in November 2021. Jones lost the case before it went to trial. The only thing being considered now is how much he’ll have to pay the Sandy Hook families.

Waterbury Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that Alex Jones was in default for non-compliance. Jones has called Bellis a “tyrant” on his InfoWars platform, and repeated the statement in front of her in the open court on Thursday. The default ruling in favor of the Sandy Hook families sent the case directly to a jury to award damages without a trial. Photograph by the Connecticut Post newspaper.

In an Associated Press article written by legal affairs writer Michael Tram, published in August 2022, Tram wrote, “Jones seemed to sabotage his own chance to fully argue that his speech was protected by not complying with orders to hand over critical evidence.”

Tram also quoted a First Amendment lawyer, Barry Covert, from Buffalo, New York. “It is reasonable to presume that (Jones) and his team did not think they had a viable defense,” Covert said, “or they would have complied.”

On Friday morning when Jones stepped out of a black SUV with three bodyguards in tow, he smiled to a scrum of journalists, and strode confidently towards a bank of cameras.

Alex Jones lost the defamation trial in Waterbury by default and has been muzzled on what he can and cannot say during the ongoing trial to determine damages. Jones, however, is not muzzled outside the courtroom and is conducting wild press conferences on the courthouse steps trying to win the battle for public opinion. Photo by John Murray

“I gave these lawyers four depositions, they’ve gotten three Texas depositions, they have hundreds of thousands of emails and did searches for text messages,” Jones said. “There was no evidence of what they claimed I did was premeditated. Because their lies couldn’t be proven, because there was no evidence, they said, “you are defaulted and now you can’t defend yourself. So that’s why I call this a show trial. It’s a trial in damages, not a trial where I’m able to put on evidence. That’s not the American way.”

The part that Jones left out of that statement is that he didn’t cooperate with the court proceedings in Connecticut. He had two years to produce financial records and when he didn’t comply, he lost by default. The case before a Connecticut jury right now is solely focused on what damages Jones will have to pay for defaming and harassing grieving and devastated parents with false conspiracy theories.

Even though Jones now admits he was wrong about Sandy Hook and has apologized, he still believes his statements were protected by his free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

Jones specializes in conspiracy theories and has stated that in addition to the Sandy Hook mass murder hoax, that the 1969 moon landing, the 9/11 attacks and the Oklahoma City bombings were all manufactured events by the Deep State to create a New World Order.

Videos being offered on the InfoWars website Friday evening give a taste of the platform.

After the Sandy Hook families fought back and dragged Jones into legal proceedings he admitted the mass shooting was real, that the twenty murdered children were real, and that no actors were involved in staging the tragedy.

“I’ve apologized 100 times to the families,” Jones said in court on Thursday, “and I’m not apologizing anymore. I am not the devil, and I did not murder those children. Adam Lanza did.”

Moments before Alex Jones arrived at Superior Court in Waterbury a cameraman said, “I don’t agree with anything he says, but he is very entertaining.”

Although Alex Jones now admits he was wrong, he still contends that it was his right to make those statements, and he has framed the Waterbury case as a man fighting for his first amendment rights.

“My show is just a talk radio show that’s on TV, just like Don Imus and Howard Stern, except I’m a populist, conservative, nationalist, patriot, Christian, and I love everybody of every race, color and creed,” Jones said Friday. “My show was popular because there’s a hunger for populism. There’s a hunger for candor, there’s a hunger for rawness, there’s a hunger for unfiltered, and if I made mistakes being raw, unfiltered – I’m a bull in a china shop, you better damn well believe it.”

Jones said he is a proud American and is fighting for everybody’s right of free speech in the country. “I love this country and I believe in people’s free speech whether they’re communist or whether they’re right wingers or whether they’re idiot KKK people,” he said. “Whether I agree with their speech, or I hate their speech, I will stand up and fight for their right to have free speech.”

Jones ended his rant in front of the media with, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

The First Amendment provides that Congress make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise. It protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There was a landmark First Amendment case in the 1980s where Evangelist Jerry Falwell sued Hustler Magazine Publisher Larry Flint for publishing a cartoon depicting Falwell having sex with his mother in an outhouse. Flint prevailed in the United States Supreme Court when the justices protected Flint’s right of free speech.

“The difference there,” author David Howard said, “is that Jerry Falwell was a bloviating public figure with his own platform and microphone, and these families did nothing but have a child tragically and horrifically murdered.”

But if you listened to Alex Jones in the courtroom on Thursday, where he testified all day long, or during his four impromptu press conferences on the steps of the courthouse, the central issue of the trial was his First Amendment right to free speech.

Judge Brellis stated in the courtroom on Thursday that the First Amendment is not a consideration in the current trial, which is solely focused on the amount of damages that Jones will have to pay to the Sandy Hook families. Jones lost his opportunity to argue about the First Amendment rights when he defaulted in both the Texas and Connecticut courtrooms.

The Sandy Hook parents who sued Alex Jones argue his statements were so malicious and obviously false that he is not protected by free speech rights.. During the trial in Texas the parents’ lawyer, Mark Bankston told jurors in his opening statement that the First Amendment doesn’t protect defamatory speech. “Speech is free,” Bankston told the jury, “but lies you have to pay for.”

Jones now acknowledges that the massacre was “100 percent real” and that it was irresponsible to say otherwise, but he still argues that it was his right to say what he said. On Friday Jones alleged the trial was rigged by influential Democrats in Connecticut to shut him up. He claimed that the family’s lawyer, Chris Mattei, has rigged the proceedings with Judge Barbara Bellis and influential Democrats, including U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Chris Mattei was the federal prosecutor who obtained a conviction against former Connecticut Governor John Rowland, and later pondered a run for governor before losing a primary against Connecticut Attorney General William Tong in 2018. Mattei now works in private practice for Bridgeport law firm Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder, a firm Alex Jones described as a Connecticut mafia that controls the state.

“This law firm wants to suck money out of people,” Jones said. “The good news is, I don’t have hardly any money. I am almost completely out of money. So it’s a joke. I’m in bankruptcy. And the judge barred me from saying that, so it’s just ridiculous.”

Jones said he came from a modest background and is not enamored by money and wealth. “Listen, I came from access TV. I came from local Talk Radio. I was super happy when I was living in $100,000 house and going to the trailer at my grandma’s house,” Jones said Friday morning. “Money means absolutely nothing to me. I have raised all this money to build an independent media system.”

Before flying back to Texas on Friday, Jones left the media with a final rant. “They want your free speech. They want your guns. They want your whole world. They want your whole life,” he said. “But at the end of the day, America is waking up to them and the Deep State.”

Attorney Josh Koskoff, left, and Chris Mattei, right, won a $73 million settlement for Sandy Hook families against Remington Arms in 2021, the first major settlement with a gun manufacturer in the United States. The photograph was captured by Brad Horrigan from the Hartford Courant. Jones said Friday that Koskoff and Mattei will be suing about Sandy Hook for generations in a money grab. The families obtained and can make public thousands of pages of internal company documents that prove Remington’s wrongdoing that might help to prevent future mass shootings.

Jones called Attorney Chris Mattei and the law firm he works for “ambulance chasers” during a heated confrontation inside the court Thursday. Image from InfoWars.

Jones’ appearance on the witness stand Thursday ended in a courtroom shouting match. Attorney Chris Mattei Mattei raised his voice, pointed towards the Sandy Hook families and accused Jones of putting targets on their backs. Image from InfoWars.

Jones described the shouting match with Attorney Chris Mattei on Thursday at Mattei’s “Perry Mason moment where he blew up and started screaming at me.” Jones said his lawyer, Norm Pattis, told Jones that if Pattis had acted like Mattei he would have been put in jail for his outburst, “guaranteed”. Photo by John Murray

Jones left the courthouse in Waterbury saying, “I want to get past Sandy Hook. I want to get school safety bills passed.” Jones is scheduled to return to Waterbury on next Wednesday or Thursday when his lawyer, Norm Pattis, will call him to the witness stand. Jones opted not to testify Friday and said he will have more flexibility on the stand when his own lawyer calls him and more freedom to put on his case.

The gargoyles were watching Alex Jones arrival, but when he left there was another figure looming over the press scrum.

100 feet away from the steps of the courthouse is the statue of Father Michael McGivney, a Catholic priest born and raised in Waterbury and now a single step away from achieving Sainthood from the Vatican. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882 to help the poor, especially the children. On the southern base of the statue is a bronze plaque of a mother and father cradling their child. The parents of the 26 murdered first graders and teachers would snub all the money on Earth for the chance to cuddle their child again, and nothing a jury can say will fix that. Photograph by John Murray