Alex Jones, America’s most famous conspiracy theorist, is not in a good place right now.
His longtime Infowars associate Roger Stone has been been indicted as part of the probe into alleged Russian collusion, and Jerome Corsi, another associate, is being investigated by a federal grand jury. Jones is currently feuding with the much more popular podcaster Joe Rogan. And now, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis has ruled that Jones must undergo a sworn deposition.
The deposition ruling, which was announced Wednesday night, is part of a defamation lawsuit filed by the parents of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting. The lawsuit alleges that, because of Jones’ accusations that the shooting was staged and the parents are “crisis actors”, the victims’ parents have been subject to ceaseless abuse and harassment.
For example, Veronique De La Rosa and Leonard Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah Pozner died in Sandy Hook, have been forced to move seven times due to death threats. Mark and Jackie Barden, whose son Daniel also died in the shooting, have suffered similar levels of harassment.
“For years, Alex Jones and his co-conspirators have turned the unthinkable loss of our sweet little Daniel and of so many others into advertising dollars and fundraising appeals,” Mark said in a statement. “It is far beyond time that he be held accountable for the pain his false narratives have caused so many and today’s ruling brings us one step closer to doing that.”
The deposition will force Jones to endure an interrogation by opposing counsels, which is made even more problematic for the Infowars host by the fact that Bellis had previously ordered Jones to surrender internal documents related to Infowars’ financial, business, and marketing decisions. Lawyers hope to use the deposition, as well as the subsequent documents, to prove Jones profited from lying.
“It is unsurprising that Alex Jones would do anything in his power to avoid testifying under oath and being forced to confront his outrageous conduct,” Josh Koskoff, one of the attorneys representing the families, said in a statement. “From the beginning, we have said that Jones knowingly peddled false and malicious narratives in order to make money at the expense of the Sandy Hook families’ grief, safety and security. Today’s ruling moves us one step closer to proving this.”
Ironically enough, the decision comes almost precisely a year after the Stoneman Douglas mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. After the tragedy, Jones accused some of the survivors of being “crisis actors” — a term which he popularized after the Sandy Hook shooting. After the Parkland shooting, the crisis actor meme was widely used by the far-right, and in one case ended up worming its way onto Fox News.
In wake of the Parkland shooting, and subsequent backlash to Jones’ theories, Infowars’ online empire suffered significantly. In August, his pages were banned by Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube in quick succession for violating hate speech guidelines. The next month, his accounts were banned on Twitter. Since then Jones has been trying his best to worm his way back into the mainstream by returning to Facebook under a different name, NewsWars. As the Washington Post noted, he is still receiving millions of views through this channel.