U.S. Supreme Court denies appeal by Alex Jones in Sandy Hook defamation case

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NEWTOWN - The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by extremist Alex Jones to revisit sanctions the Infowars host received in Connecticut trial court, where he is being sued for defamation by an FBI agent and six families who lost loved ones in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.

“Obviously, this is a disappointment,” said Jones’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, who argued that sanctions Jones received in 2019 after his “blood on the streets” rant against an attorney representing the litigants was a breach of Jones’ free speech rights.

“Mr. Jones never threatened anyone; had he done so, he would have been charged with a crime,” Pattis said in a prepared statement. “We are inching our way case-by-case toward a toothless, politically correct, First Amendment.”

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Jones’ appeal means the case goes back to trial court, where Jones is accused of calling the worst crime in Connecticut history “staged,” “synthetic,” “manufactured,” “a giant hoax,” and “completely fake with actors.” Jones has said in court that he no longer denies that the shooting happened.

It’s the latest development in a handful of defamation lawsuits in Connecticut and Texas filed by families who lost loved ones in 2012, when a gunman shot his way into a locked Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 first-graders and educators.

Jones was last in the headlines in January after the highest court in Texas rejected appeals by Jones to dismiss lawsuits brought by two fathers of children killed in the school shooting.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued no statement about Jones’ appeal, other than it was denied.

The families’ attorneys in Connecticut said they were pleased with the decision, “allowing the well-deserved sanctions against Mr. Jones to stand.”

“The families are eager to resume their case and to hold Mr. Jones and his financial network accountable for their actions,” Josh Koskoff said. “From the beginning, our goal has been to prevent future victims of mass shootings from being preyed on by opportunists.”

Pattis faulted both Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis, who hit Jones with the sanctions, and Connecticut Supreme Court, which upheld the sanctions.

“Judge Bellis, and the Connecticut Supreme Court asserted frightening and standardless power over the extrajudicial statements of litigants,” Pattis said.

rryser@newstimes.com 203-731-3342