AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Travis County Civil District Court judge was actively engaging with attorneys Wednesday as Alex Jones sought to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against him.
The lawsuit was filed by Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose 6-year-old son was killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooting killed 20 children and six adults.
Mark Bankston, the attorney for the boys’ parents, said they’ve had to move seven times as a result of death threats and online harassment. Bankston said comments Jones made questioning whether or not the Sandy Hook shooting was real or staged have caused additional terror and emotional stress for the family.
“These statements have been accepted by a shocking number of people,” Bankston said, referring to Jones’ comments about the shooting.
Jones was not in court Wednesday. His attorney, Mark Enoch, played about 40 minutes of video from his client’s “InfoWars” show and as he began playing, some members of the audience began sighing and shaking their heads.
“This is not about Sandy Hook,” Enoch said. “He is sorry for their loss.” His attorney contends that Jones is a political commentator whose comments about the Sandy Hook shooting should not be seen as defamatory.
Judge Scott Jenkins asked Enoch if some of the clip was an opinion but other parts of it were fact.
The judge and attorney went back and forth before the Jenkins said, “It’s not all opinion” and Jones’ attorney responds with, “I think you’re probably right about that.”
There were about 65 people at the hearing, and several members gasped when Bankston told the judge that Jones posted his client’s address online — something that resulted in additional threats and forced them to move.
Bankston played additional portions of Jones’ comments that are at the center of the defamation suit. Before doing so, Bankston said that the video Jones’ attorney played wasn’t useful because it was heavily edited and didn’t show certain comments about the shooting.
“We had to sit through … racism basically,” Bankston said. “And that was the good stuff.”
A similar hearing is set Thursday in the case of Marcel Fontaine v. Alex Jones. Fontaine also alleges defamation after “InfoWars” allegedly identified him as the shooter in the deadly Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people on Feb. 14.
Jones is also seeking to dismiss that lawsuit.
Cellphones and video are not allowed in court.