Alex Jones shouted that he was “done apologising” for spreading lies that the Sandy Hook massacre was a “hoax” as family members of some of the victims looked on crying in court.
The courtroom in Connecticut descended into chaos on Thursday as the far-right conspiracy theorist took the stand in his defamation case and refused to acknowledge any responsibility for causing a decade of harassment to the victims’ families.
“I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times. And I’m done saying sorry,” he shouted across the courtroom.
Mr Jones – who has spent much of the trial mocking the proceedings on his Infowars show – vowed that he “won’t apologise” for his actions as he complained that “people think that I killed the kids”.
The dramatic scene unfolded as Christopher Mattei, an attorney for the victims’ families, confronted Mr Jones with the people who he accused of being “crisis actors” almost as soon as their children and loved ones were murdered in one of the worst school shootings in US history.
Jurors were shown heartbreaking footage of Robbie Parker speaking to reporters one day after the 2012 massacre.
Mr Parker’s six-year-old daughter Emilie was one of the 26 students and staff members murdered in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
He choked back tears as he paid tribute to his little girl who “made the world a better place” for being in it.
“My daughter Emilie would be one of the first to be giving all her love and support to the victims,” he said.
“Because that was the type of person that she was.”
He told reporters about the last moments he had with Emilie the morning of the massacre.
After jurors watched the heavy footage, Mr Mattei pointed out Mr Parker in the courtroom and asked Mr Jones if “Robbie Parker is real”.
The right-wing extremist admitted “yes” – after he spent years claiming that the parents of the murder victims were “crisis actors” whose children never even existed.
“For years you put a target on his back, didn’t you?… Just like you did every single parent and loved one sitting here,” said Mr Mattei.
Mr Jones denied that this and tried to argue that he hadn’t named the family members specificially.
When Mr Mattei told Mr Jones that “these are real people”, the Infowars host launched into an unhinged rant about “liberals” and “Iraqis” before asking if he was “in China”.
“Just like all the Iraqis that you liberals killed and love. You are unbelievable. You switch emotions on and off as you want, it is just ambulance chasing,” he ranted.
Mr Mattei told the conspiracy theorist to “show a bit of respect’ as family members of the victims killed in the 2012 massacre sat in the courtroom hearing his diatribe.
“You have families in the court that lost children, sisters, wives, moms,” said Mr Mattei.
Unmoved by the statement, Mr Jones lost his temper and went on the defensive, vowing not to apologise again for the pain he has caused and doubling down that he “legitimately” believed his own lies when he first said them.
“Is this a struggle session, are we in China? I’ve already said sorry hundreds of times and I’m done saying I am sorry. I didn’t generate this, I was not the first person to say it… but I legitimately thought it might have been staged so I stand by that. And I won’t apologise for it,” he fumed.
“I have already apologised to the parents over and over again, I am not apologising to you. I do not apologise to you.”
While Mr Jones and Mr Mattei increasingly sparred, Mr Jones’s attorney began shouting “objection” repeatedly over the ruckus.
Judge Barbara Bellis ended up warning both attorneys about their conduct in a sidebar, before telling Mr Jones to “respect” the court and reminding him that the courtroom is “not your show”.
“This is not a press conference, this is clearly not your show. You need to respect the process,” she told him.
Mr Mattei went on to ask Mr Jones if there will be more mass shootings in future, to which he jumped on the defence again, suggesting the attorney was accusing him of carrying out an attack.
“Are you saying I am going to shoot someone? How do I know? Like it’s my fault, people think I killed the kids,” he fired back, before acknowledging that “there probably will be”.
Mr Mattei grilled Mr Jones about whether he is going to continue spreading lies about victims of future mass shootings.
Jurors were presented with content posted on Infowars just three weeks ago showing that he continues to push the false claim that mass shootings may be staged.
In a survey on the website, viewers were asked “What will be the most likely deep state false flag ahead of midterms?”
Among the four multiple choice answers, the top one read: “Mass shooting.”
“Whenever the next mass shooting strikes we all know what you’re going to do… You’re already conditioning your audience that it is staged,” Mr Mattei said.
“You’re inviting your audience even now that the next people – the next Robbie Parker – is an actor.”
Mr Jones began spouting false claims just hours after the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, claiming on his conspiracy site that the mass shooting was “a giant hoax” and that the victims were “actors”.
He continued to push the lies to his followers for years claiming it was a “false flag” operation.
While Mr Jones profited financially from spreading his lies, the victims’ families were subjected to years of in-person and online harassment and threats from his followers.
In court on Wednesday, the parents of some of the young children murdered in the 2012 attack gave heartbreaking testimony about the toll Mr Jones’s actions had taken on them.
David Wheeler broke down in tears as he told how the conspiracy theorist’s lies had spurred strangers to show up at his door demanding to see his murdered six-year-old son Ben.
“Someone came to the house and knocked on the door. The person demanded to see Ben, saying ‘I know he’s here, I know he’s alive,’” Mr Wheeler said.
“I felt like I was underwater. I didn’t know which way was up. To have someone publicly telling the world that it didn’t happen, that you’re a fraud and a phoney is incredibly disorienting.”
Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung who was also killed in the massacre, testified that she had been forced to move five times to try to get away from the threats and harassment.
“For 27 years of my life, that woman was my best friend,” Ms Lafferty said of her mother.
“For people to tell me she didn’t exist, how do you just let that happen?”
This marks the second defamation trial from a lawsuit that Mr Jones lost with Sandy Hook victims’ families.
In a Texas trial last month, Mr Jones admitted that he knew the 2012 massacre was real – and not a “hoax” as he had previously claimed it was.
In that case, he was ordered to pay $4.11m in compensatory damages and $45.2m in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of six-year-old victim Jesse Lewis.
Now, jurors in Connecticut will decide how much Mr Jones must pay those families in damages.