35 comments

  • dragonwriter 12 days ago
    Actually, no, the jury verdict on punitive damages is $45.2 million, but that is certain to be reduced before Jones is ordered to pay (there seems to be some dispute over whether a portion of the compensatory damages award is economic or not, and depending on the answer on that, the cap under Texas statutory punitive damages caps would seem to be somewhere between $750k and $1m; even if the plaintiffs succeed in their plan to challenge the statutory caps as unconstitutional and the cap that applies is 10× compensatory, as they have suggested it should be, that would cap punitive at $41 million.)

    The $50m is adding the punitive and compensatory verdicts, neither of which are yet part of a judgement he has been ordered to pay.

    On the other hand, this case involves 2 parents. There is a larger case in Connecticut that doesn't face Texas punitive damages caps that he has also suffered default on and will face damages, as well as another Texas case.

    • gpm 12 days ago
      The plaintiffs attorney has talked about this to reporters twice that I've seen

      Time 1: https://twitter.com/dansolomon/status/1555308565715451904

      Time 2: https://twitter.com/averytravistv/status/1555692735906349057

      In the first video (which was from before the jury announced what they though were appropriate punitive damages) says "10, 15 times" compensatory damages, $50m is below the upper end of that. The 10x you quote just seems to be the lower end of what he suggested the limit might be.

      The second video discusses what the statutory cap is (they think $750k per claim, $4.5m total)/that they don't think it's constitutional. Also that they don't think this will be directly litigated like it usually would, but be adjudicated by the bankruptcy court.

    • roenxi 12 days ago
      If Jones can afford to pay any of these figures that it says interesting things about how ineffective deplatforming is and really rather undermines the "big tech is a monopoly!" argument. Most people can't make $4 million in a lifetime, let alone these figures.
      • FireBeyond 12 days ago
        He claimed that a judgment of $2M would bankrupt Infowars. But emails revealed that, at times, revenue was $800K -per day-, and the judge asked him to explain how potentially less than 3 days revenue would have that effect.
        • andrewljohnson 12 days ago
          InfoWars made $800K in one day, not _per_ day. Jones claims that was their best day ever.

          Which makes total sense to me... businesses have huge boom days, and plaintiff lawyers will happily imply you should multiply that figure by 365 days.

          • Kaze404 12 days ago
            If you divide it by 20 before multiplying by 365, which is a charitable read to say the least, it would still be an insane amount of money.
            • kube-system 12 days ago
              Is 20x charitable? For many highly political topics attention varies wildly between times when it is topical and when it is not. And further, some big contributors may contribute zero on most days, and contribute huge sums on one day.

              Many political fundraisers bring in large fractions of their income on only during a few key days or events.

              • sophacles 12 days ago
                Jones also made a whole bunch of money via InfoWars merchandising. A lot of it was consumables like suppliments. That's a steady revenue stream.
              • birdyrooster 12 days ago
                Yeah it's definitely charitable because they are constantly selling products to their audience throughout the year.
            • dukeofdoom 12 days ago
              Keep in mind this is Revenue for a 50-75 person company. Some of his employees will be payed quite well. If they make 100k, the actual employee costs might be closer to 150k after all the government dues. So his employee costs alone could be around 10 million.

              And if his pills really are sourced from the top manufacturer, then his claim of 20% profit margin of "food" might be correct too.

              • Kaze404 12 days ago
                What's the source for the amount of employees? I couldn't find anything about that, let alone specifically 50 or 75.

                I also think it's unreasonable to say that in a 50 person company that sells junk and makes YouTube videos that the median salary would be 100k. And even if it was, 50 * 150k is $7.5 million, not "around 10 million". The difference is significant considering we're talking about a $2m fine.

                • dukeofdoom 12 days ago
                  Alex's sworn testimony during the trial. He was asked how many employees he had, and he gave these estimates. 75 * 150,000 = 11,250000. I quotes 10 million because it was a nice round number.
                  • johnmosermd 12 days ago
                    Accounting records are going to be subpoenaed eventually if this keeps up.
          • nkozyra 12 days ago
            Even so, let's say that was a 10x day ... the question still has merit.
        • tptacek 12 days ago
          None of this is a real debate. The "bankruptcy" filings show Jones pulling more than 60MM in member distributions out of these companies.
      • DoctorOW 12 days ago
        The problem with addressing Alex Jones and the rest "censored" is that they don't believe ANYTHING they say. Or rather, their spoken beliefs are fluid to suit the argument. You can't convince people there's not a "Big Tech" conspiracy about all these companies being controlled by whatever minority is trendy to hate now... You can't logic someone out a position they didn't logic their way into.
        • roenxi 12 days ago
          > The problem with addressing Alex Jones and the rest "censored" is that they don't believe ANYTHING they say.

          https://www.dailywire.com/news/reminder-wapo-nyt-won-pulitze...

          There are 2 attacks that are just not worth bringing up because we all know they are true:

          1) [Politician] is lying.

          2) [Media Personality] doesn't really believe what they are reporting.

          What you say is true, but also not interesting. Anyone who doesn't already know either of those facts doesn't care to know. It is normal.

          • johnmosermd 12 days ago
            Hey I always have clear facts and reasoning backing up my policy claims. Lies are too hard to maintain, and they're fragile.
          • DoctorOW 12 days ago
            Is that the link you meant to paste? I don't see the relevance?
            • roenxi 12 days ago
              I'll give you a hint - it is impossible to do Pulitzer-prize level reporting on a hoax without uncovering that it is a hoax. They knew they were fabricating a story out of nothing. And that isn't a problem, it is celebrated as good journalism.

              The only thing that is different about Jones is he is targeting low-class low-intelligence audiences.

              • DoctorOW 12 days ago
                Okay I was giving you a benefit of the doubt. But you're literally being the exact type of conspiracy theorist I was criticizing in my original comment.
                • roenxi 12 days ago
                  Well, now I'm very confused. Where do you think the conspiracy is here? I don't think there is one. And the Washington Post doesn't count as big tech (nor does the NYT).

                  The whole point is that there was no conspiracy, and that those two papers were making it up. Like Jones does and for very similar reasons (people love to hear a good conspiracy theory). conspiracy theorising is a fun and routine activity in the press.

      • sleepybrett 12 days ago
        This was gone into during the damages trial. When he got kicked off youtube his sales and profits from his boner pills went way up.
      • johnmosermd 12 days ago
        This is the "exception that disproves the rule" fallacy. It's like going back to 16th century America and finding the one black guy who isn't a slave, or the one white guy who is, and claiming that black slavery wasn't really a thing, just slavery itself as a general thing.
      • throwawaylinux 12 days ago
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      • stjohnswarts 12 days ago
        It's not effective because he was able to build a rabid group of suckers. He always mentioned his website all over and steered people to it.
    • rtkwe 12 days ago
      The title of the linked article has been updated (or the original submission was editorialized against HN guidelines) to "Alex Jones must pay $50m for Sandy Hook hoax claim" which is at least accurate to reasonable levels of rounding.

      Caps on punitive damages have always annoyed me, especially for things like the Exon Valdeze or similar oil spills, where the companies nickel and dime out the compensatory damages over years and then with capped punitive damages it barely impacts their bottom lines.

    • winternett 12 days ago
      I'm floored by reports on how much money he has made alone, not even touching on the verdict or the case!

      It's pretty wild that that amount of money was generated by his news machine, it would be very interesting to see where it all came from... Subscriptions? Sponsors? Yeesh, that's a lot of income. Other podcasters are going to still commit the same offences if settlements continue to under-weigh the earnings like that.

      • sneak 12 days ago
        He sells snake oil nutritional supplements and prepper crap, just like most niche male podcasters/personalities.

        You can't generally make that much revenue from content alone unless you are like the top .0001% like Joe Rogan.

        • stouset 11 days ago
          Who also sells snake oil nutritional supplements and prepper crap…
    • mrnielson 12 days ago
      I was wondering myself about that so I did some sleuthing. This law professor explains that the Texas Constitution provides for "the right of trial by jury to be inviolate": https://twitter.com/heidilifeldman/status/155562807903639142...

      The whole Twitter thread has more details but the TLDR is because of the Texas constitution, and the large amount of money at stake, this will almost certainly end up being resolved on appeal in the Texas court system. In particular, to answer the question if the Texas legislature's cap may inhibit the jury's ability to determine the punitive award amount, as the state constitution says they may.

    • stjohnswarts 12 days ago
      Sure, the judge gets final say but they rarely change these things unless the jury awards something ridiculous like a billion dollars for a broken bone.
      • dragonwriter 12 days ago
        > Sure, the judge gets final say but they rarely change these things unless the jury awards something ridiculous like a billion dollars for a broken bone.

        Or, say, if the jury orders $45 million in punitive damages when $0 of the compensatory damages were economic, and there is a statutory limit (that the jury is by law not informed of before deliberating) on punitive damages of $750,000 plus double the economic damages.

      • dukeofdoom 12 days ago
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        • dragonwriter 12 days ago
          > The judge implied, and outright told the jury during the trail that Alex was guilty before the jury deliberated

          The judge issued a default judgement against Jones for persistent refusal to meet discovery obligations. The jury trial was about damages, not liability (“guilt” is not strictly at issue, since it is a civil and not a criminal case.)

          Default judgement is a sanction available for that kind of persistent misconduct in civil cases. (And Jones has two more of them in Sandy Hook cases for the same reason, one in the same Texas court, another in Connecticut. The default judgements in both Texas cases refer to the noncompliance in all three cases in their factual background.)

        • barking_biscuit 12 days ago
          hmm that's odd as I explicitly remember a moment when Alex himself complained the had been declared "guilty" by the judge without a trial and he said "I believe I am innocent until proven guilty". The judge them reminded him that it was a civil matter and not a criminal matter, therefore there is no "guilty" and "not guilty" there is only "liable" and "not liable" and he was deemed "liable" by default when he failed to respond to the plaintiff's lawsuit.
        • Consultant32452 12 days ago
          Jones did not have a jury trial for determining guilt, the judge gave a summary judgement to the plaintiffs because Jones allegedly did not fully comply with discovery. She accurately explained, as a matter of law, that he was guilty. That had been determined at the point of the summary judgement.

          What happened recently and in the news was just the jury determining the size of the punishment.

          • dragonwriter 12 days ago
            > the judge gave a summary judgement to the plaintiffs because Jones allegedly did not fully comply with discovery.

            Nitpick: default judgement. Summary judgement is a different thing.

          • dukeofdoom 12 days ago
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            • dragonwriter 12 days ago
              > I dispute the legality of doing so, when the right to jury trial is protected under the US constitution.

              The right to trial by jury in civil cases with a sufficient amount in controversy is not, unlike some other rights protected against federal infringement by the Bill of Rights, incorporated against the states by the 14th Amendment; since this is a state case, there is no federal Constitutional protection.

              Also, even in the federal system, the civil jury trial right doesn't give you the right to to escape liability to refusing to allow a fair jury trial to happen by withholding evidence.

            • jwithington 12 days ago
              …if someone doesn’t do what is required of them (participate in discovery), what would you have done?
              • dukeofdoom 12 days ago
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                • dragonwriter 12 days ago
                  Selective participation in discovery is not sufficient and if it hadn't been clear that he had failed to produce all responsive materials when required before the phone oops during the damages phase (which it very much was, for other reasons), that error kind of sealed the deal on that.
                  • dukeofdoom 12 days ago
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                    • johnmosermd 12 days ago
                      Problem being he actually had them, as evidenced by that data being accidentally given to the plaintiff's lawyer by the defendant's lawyer.

                      Hard to argue it was "impossible" for him to do something that his legal team actually did.

    • seventytwo 12 days ago
      What’s important about this, is that Jones is being sued in other jurisdictions that don’t have maximum punitive limits.

      So it sets an important precedent for Jones (and others), that doing this kind of thing can cost you up to $50 million.

      Even though Jones won’t actually have to pay that amount, an important example has been made of him.

      • scarab92 12 days ago
        Juries awarding excessive punitive damages was enough of a problem that many states capped it.

        Seems more likely to me that, in the long run, this will also occur in the remaining states.

    • zackees 12 days ago
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      • jjeaff 12 days ago
        Sounds like maybe the only research you did was listen to what the convicted liar is saying.

        The reality is that Jones was given ample opportunity to comply and blatantly refused to cooperate with lawful court orders. Add to that, some of that information that he claimed under oath didn't exist, was accidentally sent to the plaintiff's attorneys by Jone's attorneys in a subsequent trial thus providing proof that said information was being withheld purposefully.

        In other words, this is exactly what justice looks like.

        • 7speter 12 days ago
          Is he guilty or liable for damages? This wasn't a criminal trial, it was a civil trial, or maybe I'm wrong...
          • jjeaff 11 days ago
            It was a civil trial. So convicted isn't the correct word, but found to be a liar by the court, nonetheless.
      • dragonwriter 12 days ago
        > The Judge overseeing the Alex Jones case declared him guilty herself, skipping the Jury trial, by claiming that he didn't provide evidence of his financials. . Jones on air claims he submitted it twice, but each time the judge told him it wasn't in the correct format. On the second submission, the Judge didn't give him an opportunity to fix it, instead she found him guilty by default, skipping the Jury trial and going straight to the penalty phase.

        That's a nice story. Here's are the actual default judgement orders in the two Travis County cases. The current case is the Pozner case, where he never provided documentation, not the case where he eventually supplied limited at incomplete documentation.

        https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/21074211-alex-jones-...

      • jdhendrickson 12 days ago
        Serial con artist doing con artist things, or malfeasance from the judge who has been extraordinarily patient with lies under oath, grandstanding, and dealing with someone with the morality of a carnivorous weevil.

        What is frightening is you seem to be a true believer, how can a public figure so easily debunked enthrall you so easily?

      • tmaly 12 days ago
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    • hindsightbias 12 days ago
      Maybe Abbott could redo his tort philosophy if he can shake down the tree owner more.
  • pessimizer 12 days ago
    I'm a supporter of Jones being able to spread whatever insane theories he wants whether or not he believes them himself, but he slandered the parents of dead children to the degree that some of the most insane and aggressive people in the world think that they're the agents of a world conspiracy with the intent to enslave the planet. $50 mil is a light judgement.
    • gerdesj 12 days ago
      "I'm a supporter of Jones being able to spread whatever insane theories"

      I think you are a supporter of freedom of speech in general - that's something I thoroughly approve of too.

      I also think you are able to understand the difference between seeing a horrendous crime and seeing that crime and attempting to profit from it.

      That seems to be what this bloke did: He tried to change and engorge the narrative regarding these horrific murders. This wasn't simply the usual run of the mill "American conspiracy theory".

      He tried to convince the world that the crime didn't actually happen and even worse tried to convince the world that the dead were actors and other nonsense. He was caught out rather neatly when his defence team sent rather too much SMS data to the prosecution.

      I am a fervent supporter of freedom of speech and other fundamental rights but there have to be boundaries - of reasonable decency and other quite tricky to pin down terms.

      • noduerme 12 days ago
        >> He tried to convince the world that the crime didn't actually happen and even worse tried to convince the world that the dead were actors and other nonsense.

        I'm a Jewish grandson of Holocaust survivors. I'm also American. I'm pretty happy our country has not adopted laws against holocaust denial in the way Germany or Canada have. I appreciate the thought behind those laws. But I appreciate freedom of speech more. And I do have faith that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and that truth will prevail over lies.

        On the other hand, but not in contradiction, I'm also a huge fan of the American system of Tort Law. It's the discovery and enforcement mechanism of a free country.

        I think in this case, the system is working exactly as intended. No one is jailing Jones for his speech. But he can be held responsible for the damage that resulted from it, in a way that will dissuade others from profiting off of similar attempts to rewrite history.

        • bandyaboot 12 days ago
          The opposing, though not necessarily contradictory cliche is of course some variation of “a lie makes it around the world before the truth is out of bed”. That’s the problem, there’s plenty of situations where the lie has done it’s damage long before the truth can achieve much beyond the academic.
          • speakfreely 12 days ago
            I think this is an important point. Many of us here live in cities, but in rural America there is a stunning amount of people who really believe that Joe Biden lost the 2020 election and that there was a massive, coordinated campaign of voter fraud. In many dominantly red states, this is not considered a fringe conspiracy theory but more or less generally accepted as fact.
            • adamredwoods 12 days ago
              Not only accepted as fact, but some US states starting to initiate laws around it:

              https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voti...

              • TaylorAlexander 12 days ago
                It always seemed like that was the intent. Republicans know that restricting voting rights helps them, and Trump moved the needle significantly with his work to do that. His super PAC raised something like $160m post election, so someone may have been paying for him to do all that.
            • philliphaydon 12 days ago
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              • jjeaff 12 days ago
                You don't see how wanting the system changed is any different than claiming the election was completely stolen by illegal means and then taking drastic measures to try and overturn said election? I think you have not thought very deeply about this whole situation.
              • bandyaboot 12 days ago
                Read the Mueller report. Read the Report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections from the Republican controlled Senate Intelligence Committee. The difference is that one has a tremendous amount of supporting evidence. The other has none.
                • philliphaydon 12 days ago
                  The major conspiracy theory was that trump colluded with Russia to win the election. As far as I’m aware the Mueller report said Russia stood to benefit from a trump presidency but Trump didn’t collude.

                  So Trump won legitimately. Even if people voted with the wrong information. And the losing side threw its toys out of the cot.

                  Then when Biden won, the losing side threw its toys out of the cot.

                  In both cases there’s conspiracy theories. Russian collusion and rigged elections.

                • roenxi 12 days ago
                  Here is [0] a copy of the Muller report. It is vague, as is usual for political hit jobs. There is hard evidence that someone leaked truthful statements out of the DNC, which is a major political scandal (honest accounting of what the {R|D}NC if thinking? Available to the public?! heaven forfend, that is not how journalism is done).

                  Which bits of evidence in it do you think are compelling, actionable and importat? Bearing in mind that the evidence is so uncompelling that right-wing advocates bring up the Muller report more than left-wing ones and you're probably going to get some resistance whatever you pick out.

                  The introduction and summary are mostly fluff and allusion, so I'm not bothering reading the whole thing unless you want to point to something specific.

                  [0] https://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2019/images/04/18/mueller-report-sea...

                  • bandyaboot 12 days ago
                    You’re responding to “Read the Mueller report.” With [I’m not going to read the Mueller report]. Thanks for letting me know.

                    I mean, honestly, you’re bothered by lack of details so because of that…you’re choosing not to read the parts where one would expect to find the details.

                    • roenxi 12 days ago
                      I've got a few pages left in me. I'm pretty sceptical you can find anything that I'll admit is evidence of anything that is even abnormal, let alone concerning (I'm anticipating stuff like "presidential candidate talks to Russians!" as though it isn't the presidents job to negotiate with Russians, or those hilariously small amounts of money that got spent on posting social media articles).

                      Which section do you think is the most powerful? What in the document upsets you?

                      It is pretty normal in my experience that people pretty quickly walk back from pretending that the report actually contains anything, because they can't point to it and rely on the fact that there is this fake consensus that something evil happened so there is no need to provide any evidence of anything specific. If you want to point at something I'll read it, but I think you're bluffing on a weak hand here - this report is political swill. Nobody cites from it when they have a point to make against Trump or the 2016 election.

                      PS: And I'll just add - telling people to "go read a 450 page document to convince yourself I'm right" is an unreasonable ask. I read a lot of that report at the time it was released and I'm pretty convinced there was nothing in it.

                      • bandyaboot 12 days ago
                        I seems like maybe you’ve decided to read more into my original comment than what’s actually there.

                        The entirety of what I’m saying right now is “Both the Mueller and Senate Intel committee reports contain pretty extensive evidence and detailing of a significant interference campaign by the Russians on the 2016 election”. I was responding in regards to “blaming Russians” which was far from a baseless conspiracy theory.

                        • roenxi 12 days ago
                          And yet you've now made it through 3 posts without doing anything as gauche as mentioning what that evidence is, providing a sample of it or articulating what the Russians have done that you don't like apart from being foreign. As alluded to previously, the biggest complaint most have seems to be that they were allegedly [^] bringing honesty into a political context. They have no power to influence US elections, as shown by their inability to do anything apart from one push in 2016. Look how they couldn't manage "interference" in 2012 and it magically disappeared by 2020. Possibly Russians can be defeated with concentrated Democrat fanfiction [&]?

                          One momentary peak of Russian power that you are struggling to narrow down to an example, despite having a 450 page report that you don't feel like quoting from because, presumably, nobody thinks the issue is important enough to explain to the doubters.

                          You've got nothing. The Muller report is a high-class version of exactly the same conspiratorial gibber that Jones is pumping out.

                          [^] And although I don't care on the point, I haven't seen the evidence for this either, I assume all the intelligence agencies have tools to pretend to be other agencies when hacking things. I expect even on this point it isn't clear it was the Russians but if it was I support them for good journalism.

                          [&] Which is what the Muller report seems to be. Rather steamy, no plot.

                          • bandyaboot 12 days ago
                            I’ve made it through now 4 posts having chosen not to engage with you on topic because you made it clear from the outset that you’re not capable of having a good faith exchange on this.

                            You pre-dismissed anything I might have cited. You say things like I’m bluffing on a weak hand, I’ve got nothing, and I’m supposed to say to myself “Yes, this person is worth expending effort on, let’s have a totally real open minded debate.” Get over yourself.

                            • philliphaydon 12 days ago
                              I’m gonna go out in a limb here and say you’re scared to cite anything in fear of it having a rebuttal.

                              As I said in my reply the report concludes that Trump didn’t collude with Russia to win the election. So the major conspiracy theory is throw out the window. It holds as much weight as Biden stealing the election.

                              • bandyaboot 12 days ago
                                > I’m gonna go out in a limb here and say you’re scared to cite anything in fear of it having a rebuttal.

                                Again, I’m not going to get in the weeds with someone who isn’t arguing in good faith. There’s no good that can come from it. In this case it’s extra pointless because I agree with this person. Nothing in the Mueller report is going to convince them of anything.

                                > As I said in my reply the report concludes that Trump didn’t collude with Russia to win the election. So the major conspiracy theory is throw out the window. It holds as much weight as Biden stealing the election.

                                The report doesn’t do anything of the sort. The report is entirely focused on assessing evidence of criminal liability. Since collusion isn’t an actual crime the report nothing directly to say on the matter, much less actually coming right out and concluding that it didn’t happen. That’s just ridiculous.

                                There is evidence that is presented in the context of other matters of potential criminal liability that would be relevant to any discussion of “collusion”. One example would be Manafort and Gates sharing internal polling data with the Russians. You would have to contort yourself pretty hard to rationalize this as something other than coordinating with Russias’s campaign of interference/assistance.

                                • roenxi 11 days ago
                                  > Again, I’m not going to get in the weeds with someone who isn’t arguing in good faith.

                                  The only reason you think you can anticipate my response is because I've correctly anticipated that you don't have an argument. If something comes up that is outside my predictions neither of us knows what I'd do. But I'm predicting a bluff and it has been a long thread of posts now.

                                  > One example would be Manafort and Gates sharing internal polling data with the Russians.

                                  The Russians could hire a polling company at any time. American's don't keep their opinions quiet. How do you want to spin that in to something interesting? Since Manafort's team won the election, it was probably a "hey, we're serious candidates, you should be ready to negotiate with us if we win" thing. Since one of the president's official duties is negotiating with Russians to try and prevent escalations.

                                  Care to reference a page number for this one so I can make sure I'm dealing with the same topic?

              • tjr225 12 days ago
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            • adventured 12 days ago
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              • pstuart 12 days ago
                It was an attempted insurrection -- there's plenty of evidence to support that.
                • bandyaboot 12 days ago
                  It was an actual realized insurrection. Were you meaning to say it was an attempted coup?
                  • pstuart 12 days ago
                    Yes, it was an attempted coup.

                    I fear the next one will be better executed.

            • rayiner 12 days ago
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              • tptacek 12 days ago
                We conducted an undisputed (and still somewhat close) presidential election in 1944, in the middle of World War 2, just prior to the Battle of the Bulge and with half a million servicepeople in the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. But somehow we're meant to dignify the objections of gullible voters who don't understand how a drop-off box works. Spare us.
                • rayiner 12 days ago
                  FDR was a popular President who had already won 3 elections by landslide margins, and won a fourth term by 400+ electoral votes. And of course wars have a uniquely unifying effect on populations.

                  You could make a similarly flippant remark about people not knowing how electronic voting machines work. At the end of the day, the Taiwanese, French, etc., don’t count votes the way they do for funsies.

            • phpisthebest 12 days ago
              The solution to that is not suppression of the idea(s), in fact attempts to suppress anyone talking about the election only serve as fuel to expand the number of people that believe it, as "what are they trying to hide" becomes of the main part of the story.

              Greater, and Actual Transparency combined with a trust worthily network of news outlets would go along way to shut down these types of discussions

              Sadly we have neither government nor really judicial transparency in any meaningful way, and we are at a point in time where trust in "news" is lower than trust in congress...

              Want to tone down the number of people that believe in conspiracy... More Facts, less Spin...

              • pstuart 12 days ago
                > Want to tone down the number of people that believe in conspiracy... More Facts, less Spin...

                Really? More facts will change their minds? Who will they trust with those facts?

                This is bordering on cult-like behavior and it shows no signs of improving -- I'm not optimistic about this at all.

                • phpisthebest 12 days ago
                  Trust is built over decades, and torn down in minutes.

                  News outlets (on both sides) have been caught in multiple partisans lies, disinformation, and spin/suppression of inconvenient facts for "their side" for many years now, this has eroded the trust in media and makes presentation of facts harder.

                  Neither side wants to acknowledge anything that would be seen as supporting the position of the "others"

                  So in the context of the election, you have one side that refuses to concede that Biden was elected by the people, but you also have the other side refusing to concede that because of COVID and other factors the 2020 election has some pretty non-standard events that (while not impacting the outcome of the presidential election) is the basis of the questioning of the integrity of the election, instead we have people saying the 2020 was the freest, fairest election in all of history because their side won..

                  neither position is true or healthy, and both position have Cult-Like behavior

                  • pstuart 12 days ago
                    Sorry but not buying the "both sides are the same" bit.

                    > Neither side wants to acknowledge anything that would be seen as supporting the position of the "others"

                    You seem to be holding up your side of that argument but I don't roll that way. I abhor partisan politics and am happy to point out flaws of the Dem establishment.

                    As to the last election, it was as fair as one can hope for -- you're taking the defense of the legitimacy of the election to cult-like behavior? What exactly is the left doing that's cult like in that regard?

                    And thanks for the lecture on the veracity of news -- gosh I had no idea that people like William Randolph Hearst ever existed and manipulated the media generations ago.

                    Maybe too hard for you, but nuance is a thing -- any source of information is going to have bias and imperfection and it's a matter of understanding that bias and taking nuggets of knowledge. Case in point: while the NYT has made many egregious mistakes (supporting the Iraq war being a biggie), I still trust them as a news source more than Fox.

                    Fox news was designed as a propaganda wing of the GOP. This is documented. And yet all of you on the right happily lap it up and dismiss any source that doesn't satisfy your preconceived biases.

                    And as far as COVID goes -- prior to the past president viruses were not political. Bush was at least pro-science in that regard.

                    • phpisthebest 12 days ago
                      >>it was as fair as one can hope for -

                      I dont think when you have governors of various states in real time changing election rules, and regulations under "emergency" powers can be considered "fair it one can hope"

                      Also contrary to to democrat talking points there have been successful legal challenges to those election regulation modifications done by governors or election boards.

                      2020 election was unusual for a variety of reasons not just COVID, and it should not be controversial to say we need to look at all of the changes, emergency orders, and other activities that were happening to ensure everything was handled correct, something I don't think many on "the left" want to even acknowledge

                      >>while the NYT has made many egregious mistakes (supporting the Iraq war being a biggie), I still trust them as a news source more than Fox

                      Most likely because your personal bias leans in the same direction as NYT, so you are looking for confirmation of your worldview which NYT, most of the time, provides you.

                      >>And yet all of you on the right happily lap it up

                      I am not on the right, nor do I watch fox news ( or CNN or MSNBC or NYT), I get most of my news from varied sources (my RSS feed is currently following over 250 feeds) i also love the GroundNews App / Website.

                      Ideologically I am a homeless nomad, and reject all political parties, I would love a system where political parties are completely banned. Individualism is my preferred state

                      >And as far as COVID goes -- prior to the past president viruses were not political. Bush was at least pro-science in that regard.

                      and you believe only the right has politicized covid? Interesting

                      • bandyaboot 11 days ago
                        > I dont think when you have governors of various states in real time changing election rules, and regulations under "emergency" powers can be considered "fair it one can hope"

                        Which changes that were made as we tried to navigate a presidential year election during a pandemic do you believe made the election unfair? Why did the vast majority of the complaining about these changes come after the election rather than as they were being made?

                        • phpisthebest 11 days ago
                          All of them, and there were lots of complaints while it was happening.

                          I dont believe governors have, or should have, the power to change election law at all, for any reason even "during a pandemic"

                          I also dont believe governors should have most of their so called "emergency powers" that is ripe for abuse, and many governors did just that, and continue to do just that even outside the election context

                      • pstuart 11 days ago
                        There's been dozens of lawsuits and no smoking gun. We had a pandemic going on and so mail in/drop of ballots were promoted.

                        Show some evidence for this concern or just drop it. Ironically, election security is in peril because the GOP is installing officials that are ready to steal the next election.

                        I don't treat the NYT as gospel; it's yet another input for consideration. I'm painfully aware of confirmation bias and do my utmost to take whatever truth becomes apparent.

                        "Political" has varied meanings/interpretations. In the context of laws and regulations vs. partisan power mongering.

                        Dealing with a pandemic required unfortunate actions which are political in the first sense. The anti-vax movement has been embraced by the GOP and it is very much political in sense of identity.

                        I do agree with you on the corruptive nature of political parties.

                        Long and short of it: I "lean left" but don't make my identity about that. There are classic elements of old school conservatism that I agree with but modern conservatism has now been coopted by the Evangelicals and they are bat shit crazy. Goldwater was prescient and correct in his concern about that happening.

                  • piva00 12 days ago
                    Cult-like behaviour seems quite the norm across the USA though. Cheering for politics as if it was a sport, everything needs to be an spectacle, lack of pragmatism and an obtuse clinging to absolutist, dogmatic thinking (as you can see from any discussion around freedom of speech).

                    It's rather bizarre that instead of seeing this cult-like behaviour (in the news, in politics, etc.) as an emergent property from the general American culture most will blame the news and the politicians for creating it. It's the inverse, they are just feeding what the populace actually is and behaves like.

              • ethbr0 12 days ago
                > More Facts, less Spin

                What the United States needs to target is the economics of news. Actual news. Not infotainment.

                Don't attempt to regulate good/bad news: economically incentivize good reporting and disincentivize bad reporting. The market will follow.

                If 24/7 news channels weren't profitable... there wouldn't be any 24/7 news channels.

                • phpisthebest 12 days ago
                  Well as we have seen in this Alex Jones case, and other recent defamation cases it seems both the public and the legal system are turning from "defamation is almost impossible to win" to something else

                  the Economics of news is going to be very different is media can not hide by "anonymous sources" and "it is just opinion" while spreading lies about individuals or events.

                  I think the next cases may find more well known news outlets in the defendants chair of defamation action

          • wernercd 12 days ago
            and it's still more important to have free speech because who decides "truth" and "lie"... and what happens when those in power switch and the other side decides.

            Want Biden or Obama to have some power? Are you going to be okay with Bush or Trump gets that power?

            • bandyaboot 12 days ago
              I don’t think I suggested granting a particular power to the president. I just engaged in a discussion on the nature of truth and lies.

              I would suggest that you at least try to put yourself in the position of these parents when thinking about this topic (as impossible as that may be). Imagine having your child murdered then having this waste of life make up vicious lies about you and your dead child.

            • krapp 12 days ago
              Political parties and Presidents don't decide what truth is and what lies are in the United States, or other free countries.
              • adamredwoods 12 days ago
                Yes they can. They cannot enforce their decisions directly. They can certainly influence, and perhaps even form alliances that propagate those decisions. With those alliances, some decisions can be made into law.
                • krapp 12 days ago
                  If they can't enforce their decisions, they're not really making decisions. GP was implying that regulating speech meant "truth" and "lies" would depend entirely on which political party happened to be in power at the time. But we already live in a society in which speech is regulated, and that doesn't happen. Trump tried as hard as he could, but every lie he spouted was still pushed against, much to his dismay. He convinced people who already bought into the party line, but no one else was forced into accepting or spreading his point of view.

                  Freedom of speech still exists where debate, conflict and truth discovery can still occur. Regulating speech mediates free speech, but doesn't have to eliminate it. The marketplace of ideas can accept that some ideas are not worth keeping.

                  • johnmosermd 12 days ago
                    > If they can't enforce their decisions, they're not really making decisions.

                    Why are you talking?

                    For that matter, why do we have media, or even schools?

            • LBJsPNS 12 days ago
              BE AFRAID!!! BE VERY AFRAID!!
        • jjeaff 12 days ago
          It should be noted that this defamation case is not a simple case of denying a reality thus causing trauma to the victims. Jones called out some of these parents by name, put their photos and the photos of their children on his show. Then he did nothing while his audience harassed and threatened these parents for years. Some having to move multiple times and hire private security guards because of Jone's show. He continued defaming these parents on his show even up to the morning of one of the last days of this recent trial saying that the mother was "slow" and being manipulated by the government.

          In my opinion, this whole ordeal is pretty close to being deserving of a criminal trial because his speech has incited violence and harassment again and again on these parents.

        • adamredwoods 12 days ago
          Meh... I always look back to this case when anyone talks about free speech. It's a tough pill to swallow here in the US. I would be more than angry, and emotionally scarred, if anyone picketed near a family member's funeral.

          https://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-a...

        • sleepybrett 12 days ago
          They might jail him for perjury though...
        • busyant 12 days ago
          i hope you're correct, but i suspect that swiss bank accounts, shell corporations, clever accountants and "gifting" money to friends and family will say otherwise.
          • ggm 12 days ago
            Those Swiss bankers are equally indiscriminate. They allowed a minority of wealthy refugees to hide value and allowed Nazism to hide expropriated goods and money, stolen from those self same wealthy refugee's less savvy compatriots, and continue to hide this wealth alongside the more quotidian tax avoiders and druglords and arms dealers.

            What I find fascinating is that even after panama papers the banking system is reluctant to really tackle the problem. We learn more from whistle-blower and (possibly law breaching) seizure of strong boxes, than we do from Swiss banks voluntarily. They really only love money. Social justice is nothing.

            Swiss neutrality is an enabler of bad things, in finance.

        • AdamJacobMuller 12 days ago
          Every time I've had the misfortune to speak with actual Nazis, the first, and commonly the loudest talking point they make in support of their beliefs is that, if what they are saying is fake and is so easily debunkable, why do people feel the need to censor them?

          The argument is obviously wrong, for a number of reasons, but I wouldn't mind denying them that talking point.

        • nineplay 12 days ago
          > And I do have faith that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and that truth will prevail over lies.

          I wish I had that faith but I think the Holocaust stands as a pretty big counter-argument. I'm genuinely curious about your faith, do you think that something could have been done in Germany in the 30s which would have preserved free speech and prevented the Holocaust?

          • johnmosermd 12 days ago
            Same answer as for the United States: Multi-member national house election by a competent method of single transferable vote (although Meek's method is newer than that, and my Bucklin-based method isn't even fully analyzed yet, so only somewhat-competent methods existed); single-winner elections by a single transferable vote nominating primary followed by a Smith-efficient final election (although the Smith set wasn't defined until later; Condorcet paradox was known, and inventing the Smith set wasn't hard, modern methods which would allow for rapid hand-counting were only invented a couple decades ago though).

            Easy problem today, harder problem at the time due to lack of knowledge.

            They used a list proportional system (the same system used today in Germany, and similar to that used across Europe). Candidates were controlled by the party, rather than self-nominated. It's a huge oligarchical system that lends itself to enormous perversions of democracy. We have self-nominated candidates in the United States, but party primary elections and every type of election used here (MNTV, SNTV, first past the post, and run-offs) are broken and create extreme distortion, polarization, and disenfranchisement by their mathematical nature.

            Democracy only works when it's actually democratic. When it's not, a polarized minority can become dominant over the majority, thus dominating the public discourse and shaping the public reason, retaining and expanding power. Most systems tend to reject whichever represents the view of the voters as a whole body; STV deals with the problems of fair and equal single-winner elections (which suppress minority voices) by proportionality for solid coalitions, capturing the median voter group as well as those minority views leaning away from the median voter in proportion to the size of the groups, which are of roughly-even size, thus introducing diversity into the conversation without lopsided a priori voting power, maximizing the efficiency of the public reason.

          • dcolkitt 12 days ago
            Weimar Germany already had extensive laws regulating and restricting speech. Those same exact laws were turned against the early opponents of the Nazis.

            I don’t know if the First Amendment would have stopped the totalitarian takeover of Germany. But it certainly would have made it harder.

          • adventured 12 days ago
            The KKK was thoroughly defeated as a power in the US thanks entirely to the US system of freedom of speech; the KKK had a very large, potent base at one time. They were not outlawed as a group, sunlight-as-disinfectant overwhelmingly won out (and no, the US still having a small number of KKK members with next to zero political power isn't a good counter point). It was the ability to tightly regulate and limit speech that assisted the Nazis in coming to power and implementing totalitarianism in Germany.

            It's extremely obvious that Trump (his government, his admin) not being able to control the media, control speech, was a really good thing. And that's true whether it's a terrible Republican or terrible Democrat, or any other terrible politician, that is in power. If you give them one big lever of speech control to start from, they'll expand that control, you can count on that.

            • dragonwriter 12 days ago
              > The KKK was thoroughly defeated as a power in the US thanks entirely to the US system of freedom of speech; the KKK had a very large, potent base at one time. They were not outlawed as a group, sunlight-as-disinfectant overwhelmingly won out

              While the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 didn't, you are correct, outlaw the Klan as a group, it did authorize a whole lot of measures—including authorizing federal military force and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and new federal civil and criminal causes of action—to combat their actions and those of similar groups, and those authorities were liberally used in suppressing them. Describing the successful strategy as “sunlight as disinfectant” rather than massive application of force is... not grounded in fact.

            • MrMan 12 days ago
              I know very wealthy people in the south who are giving a lot of money to militias. does that count?
        • gerdesj 12 days ago
          "I'm a Jewish grandson of Holocaust survivors. I'm also American."

          Fair enough. My Jewish roots (int al) are rather more convoluted than yours.

          "I'm pretty happy our country has not adopted laws against holocaust denial in the way Germany or Canada have."

          Both of my parents were soldiers and I grew up in West Germany and the UK in the 1970s-1990s (on and off, here and there!)

          Tort is to do with contract law.

          Be American as much as you can - and I will stand in your corner for that too. However there is some history here and Jones was riffing and profiteering on an event that was nominally genocide and he described it as such.

          Please don't mistake free speech for hate and spite.

          • UIUC_06 12 days ago
            > Please don't mistake free speech for hate and spite

            if you'd put this some other way, I'd be down with it.

            However, people who say "hate speech is not free speech" are just plain wrong. Yes, it is.

        • bumblebritches5 12 days ago
          undefined
        • golemiprague 12 days ago
          undefined
      • threatofrain 12 days ago
        > He was caught out rather neatly when his defence team sent rather too much SMS data to the prosecution.

        Minor nitpick: this was a civil trial so it's just plaintiff vs defendant.

      • tootie 12 days ago
        I fervently believe that there's no practical way for government to regulate speech so they shouldn't try. If there were a magic way to stop people like Jones from talking that wouldn't chill free speech in general, I'd take it in a heartbeat. He's not contributing to the marketplace of ideas. He's spreading lies deliberately for his personal profit.
        • jollybean 12 days ago
          There are plenty of very practical ways to legislate speech, we already do it all over the place.

          We don't live in this legal abyss, most institutions make decisions for their business, but also for what they view to be higher, civic purposes.

          Cable and Broadcast TV standards aren't just about profit maximization, they're kind of there to set a 'decency precedent'.

          I mean, for the same reason you don't see 'porn everywhere' - you don't see the kinds of hyperbolic stuff Jones is saying all over the place.

          Almost all organization have thresholds of various kinds, certainly Search, Social Media, Netflix, Cable/Broadcast in general, news outlets, Cable carriers, Academia yada yada.

          The question will be perennially 'what to enforce and why' but we definitely already have standards.

          Aside from fighting about the rules at various institutions, we then have 'legal' rules (a bit different), and of course we probably want to make sure there are at least some forums where anything can be said.

          • ajsnigrutin 12 days ago
            But there are not...

            > The question will be perennially 'what to enforce and why' but we definitely already have standards.

            Yes, but each of us has a different standards.

            In usa for example, they have "the nipplegate" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_XXXVIII_halftime_sh... where one nipple (a thing kids hang on for some time, then are disallowed to see for a few years, then want to hang on again,... and well, girls see in the mirror every day) causes such controversy...

            ...and in the country of my birth (yugoslavia), even in the "dark socialist times", you had nipples on public tv in a milk commercial - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYhaHhpLKag&t=21s

            It's same with speech, you might agree with your own personal standards, but many others don't, some believe in absulute free speech, and some want to censor what they believe to be "hate speech".

            This is again one of those things where people say that they agree to a standard of what is and what should not be free speech, but each has their own standard incompatible with the other ones.

        • jerojero 12 days ago
          Is posting an image part of your free speech? Absolutely yes.

          Then let's see, when was the last time you were exposed to a child pornography image? Hopefully never (though we do have this whole pornhub drama going on).

          It is obvious that there are ways of controlling speech and we do it all the time. I think only Americans believe in this absolute negative liberty view of speech.

          • dcolkitt 12 days ago
            Child pornography isn’t illegal because of the contents of the speech. It’s illegal because it’s an accessory to the original crime of child molestation. That is why the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that virtual child pornography, even photorealistic, is Constitutionally protected speech.
            • jerojero 12 days ago
              Okay but you're can surely realise that someone in possession of child pornography images that were taken, say, 20 years ago is no longer accessory to the original crime in any way. In fact, it might very well be possible for that person to not have even been born back then. Of course, that's not really how law works because some crimes don't have a deadline.

              But whatever the legal reasoning behind it is, the consequence is that you are pretty much forbidden from distributing this material on the internet and so your right to show something to others is being restricted. I would consider that a limitation of free speech. But of course, I can totally see why you'd have the need to justify it in some other way, because we don't want our freedom of speech to be limited in any way. The law is always open to interpretation after all.

              What's the reasoning behind restricting people from sharing copies of copyrighted material? Obviously it is also an illegal action. My point being, there are many ways in which our speech is monitored and restricted already.

          • adventured 12 days ago
            > I think only Americans believe in this absolute negative liberty view of speech.

            That's a wonderful compliment.

            • jerojero 12 days ago
              It's really not.

              Some groups due to historical or biological reasons require special protection. It is why we protect kids, it is why we protect people with disabilities. But if you take negative liberty to its extreme this special treatment that we offer these groups of people become unwarranted privileges. A world view that is based entirely on negative liberty ends up in a "survival of the strongest" state.

              Obviously there is a big discussion on which groups require what sort of positive reinforcement from society to be able to truly enjoy and perform as close to the rest as possible. One simple example is access to buildings for people in wheelchair. When the government requires businesses to put these they're infringing on the businesses liberties to decide how to, well, run their business. But I know very little people who wouldn't agree with this situation.

              So, i don't know, I think a purist vision of the state as a non-interfering voice (negative liberty) has for a long while been deemed an inadequate way of structuring society. So I don't think it's a wonderful compliment.

            • white_dragon88 12 days ago
              I see it more as hubris then something beneficial. Any society that allows a man like Alex Jones to peddle what he peddles with just a light financial slap on the wrist isn’t a society I consider to be healthy or going in the right direction, even on principle. It creates a dog eat dog world and it doesn’t have to be that way.
        • AtlasBarfed 12 days ago
          Do you believe someone should be able to brigade 1,000 people to post slander and accusations across the internet such that you are fired and ostracized from society, and possibly investigated and bankrupted?

          Speech is information, and in the information age there is a lot of speech that can rapidly be brought to bear on someone. We've already seen it happen with internet mobs and similar things.

          What happens when someone weaponizes it? Because that's what is going on here, and to pretend it is simply like "speech" from the ages of horseback and paper, much like when "arms" were muskets, is naive from a policy standpoint.

        • krapp 12 days ago
          So you agree that Alex Jones is deliberately spreading lies for personal profit, and that this is harmful, but believe there shouldn't be any laws against it or any punishment for the consequences? Does that include the judgement he's facing now?

          Governments have been regulating speech since the beginning of governments. Every society doesn't exist in a state of maximal speech oppression as a result, so it cannot be the case that any attempt to regulate speech chills free speech in general.

          • thfuran 12 days ago
            >so it cannot be the case that any attempt to regulate speech chills free speech in general.

            That does not follow. It only follows that it doesn't chill free speech maximally.

          • tootie 12 days ago
            No, sorry. I don't mean to imply he shouldn't be penalized in this case. I'm talking about literally everything else he says that doesn't get prosecuted. For example, saying the election was stolen is perfectly legal even though it's a destructive lie. Without a plaintiff who can cite specific harm, there's no crime
            • ww-picard-do 12 days ago
              > I fervently believe that there's no practical way for government to regulate speech so they shouldn't try.

              > I don't mean to imply he shouldn't be penalized in this case.

              Those two statements would seem to contradict each other. How can you believe that the government should not try to regulate speech, yet it should still be able to penalize someone for their speech?

          • somewhat_drunk 12 days ago
            Well stated.
        • d0mine 12 days ago
          There is practical and very much effective way: it is called propaganda: you don't need to regulate speech if you can control what people think (and national security, wokeism will take care of the rest).
      • godmode2019 12 days ago
        Do you have evidence that he was caught out by the sending too much SMS data?

        His own statement said the SMS data was from 2019, it was all messages from that year rather than the ones filtered by the relevant keywords.

        The media reports did not have the same conclusion you are suggesting.

      • dukeofdoom 12 days ago
        You should be especially concerned than. Listen to the closing argument from the plaintiff's attorney, what it is they are after.

        https://twitter.com/Spiro_Ghost/status/1555690309077565440

        And it's effectively is to silence Alex.

    • api 12 days ago
      That's the difference between free speech and malicious libel and slander.

      Jones is a total psychopath. What he did to those grieving families is just beyond despicable. Mentally abusing children who survived a murder rampage is way way beyond just dirty politics, propagandizing, and typical grifting.

      • wyager 12 days ago
        undefined
        • Daishiman 12 days ago
          Why are you asking this over and over when you're just a couple of Google searches away from both trial videos and his damaging content?
      • TechBro8615 12 days ago
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      • steve_adams_86 12 days ago
        I can’t tell if he’s a psychopath or mentally ill. Maybe whoever put the guy on air seems responsible on some level as well.

        We love to point the finger at this guy but a lot of people were responsible for many, many insane productions by him, and no one questioned if it should be aired long enough to realize this would be harmful to the victims’ families.

        • Fezzik 12 days ago
          My armchair assessment is he loves money and he found a herd of morons that is willing to throw millions at him if he behaves like a maniac and says outlandish things. He basically performs like any religious huckster, knowingly feeding people lies for dollar bills. Here he is on JRE walking back his Sandy-Hook-being-fake-claims and he presents as a perfectly reasonable, informed dude: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QzpXMbM-kos
          • somewhat_drunk 12 days ago
            Your armchair assessment is quite obviously spot-on. I hope the forthcoming lawsuits fine him into oblivion.
        • tempsy 12 days ago
          I don’t really know why it’s so hard to pinpoint what Alex Jones is or does what he does.

          He’s a professional troll, as in says things he doesn’t necessarily believe in himself but fit whatever public brand he is trying to sell because it brings him attention which in turn makes him money.

          Sometimes it seems like we have all these words to describe people exactly like him aka troll, LARPer, astroturfer, and yet for whatever reason when we actually see someone doing any of these things we somehow think he’s actually crazy and believes all these conspiratorial things when the most likely explanation is that it’s all just a bit.

        • vlunkr 12 days ago
          > whoever put the guy on air

          He put himself on the air, he's the creator of InfoWars. I'm sure other people are involved, but ultimately he's still the one to point the finger at.

          • steve_adams_86 12 days ago
            I suppose I thought the network would have the final say, and they should be held accountable for the content they permit on their channels. Then again, I'm not sure how much of this occurred online in a setting that can't really be moderated. I watched an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience with him on YouTube many years ago (it was awful), and I don't think that could effectively be moderated by anyone. That's a hard problem.

            I wasn't trying to say Jones shouldn't be accountable. Even if he isn't a sociopath, what he did was inexcusable. I simply meant to say he didn't work independently, and I'm surprised/concerned he wasn't shut down much sooner.

        • RajT88 12 days ago
          I am not any kind of medical professional, but I would categorize him as a sociopath.

          When pressed in court, he admits that he doesn't really believe anything he is saying. He just doesn't care who gets hurt, as long as he keeps making money.

        • toolz 12 days ago
          I used to listen to Jones a lot back around 2010 and I feel very confident that Jones fully believed it was a staged event, more surprising to me is that he corrected his mistake many times on air, on video and in person many years before he was sued.

          I said this in another comment as I hope his platform disappears, but I don't think justice is being served here.

          • jen20 12 days ago
            He said in court he does not believe it, so if your assessment is correct he committed yet another act of perjury.
    • nathanvanfleet 12 days ago
      It's gotten to the point where people going out of their way to say they support this sort of talk are kind of weird. You didn't have to make that your headline, but you decided to make it that. You could have just said you think what he is saying is problematic etc, if you disagree with them you can say you disagree.
      • ChainOfFools 12 days ago
        "go there-ism."

        As if someone is saying "see that paradoxical/hostile bit of mental terrain over there? I can go there. _Ordinary_ people can't go there, but _I_ can. I have (for progressives) the exceptional acrobatic courageous flexibility / (for conservatives) the unbreakble mental backbone necessary to occupy and even defend a place that others can't tolerate even contemplating from a distance. "

          wish I had a better term for this specific flavor of one-upsmanship, but it's creeping into dialog more and more on a lot of fronts,  from a lot of different corners of society. I have a hunch that the boom in podcasting is a symptom and also an aggravating cause. People have given up on talking to each other, and now prefer to broadcast at each other.
    • remarkEon 12 days ago
      Does anyone have a link to what he actually said? Now I’m curious. I hadn’t really been aware of this most recent Alex Jones shenanigan.
      • jonas21 12 days ago
        He said that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, it was fake, it didn't happen. They play portions of it in an interview with him here:

        https://youtu.be/-HzOqZeX3Yk?t=524

        He also claimed the parents were actors, and it was all done in front of a blue screen:

        https://www.mediamatters.org/embed/clips/2016%3A11%3A29%3A51...

        • sleepybrett 12 days ago
          He did this for years, after it was blindingly obvious to literally everyone but his followers that it wasn't some kind of 'deep state globalist false flag hoax with crisis actors'.

          Those followers would track down the parents no matter the circumstances, if they moved, they would be found and harassed, if they changed their names, they would be found and harassed. Jones kept platforming a lunatic named 'Wolfgang Halbig' who spent years as one of Jones' primary sources on sandy hook. Halbig would show up to the parent's houses and taunt and 'question' them and their neighbors. It was abhorrent.

          After a while the parents (via counsel I think) reached out to inforwars and asked them stop. They did not. At one point one of the infowars editorial staff in an email pointed out that they were in a legally precarious situation and should back off the sandy hook shit. It didn't stop.

          It was only when the suits were brought that alex tried to cool things down on his show. Then he did everything he could to delay the trials which eventually ended when he was found in default on all four pending suits. This is the first to go into damages phase.

          • ZeroGravitas 12 days ago
            In many ways the Truther’s are also tragic victims, if I was a relative of theirs I would also sue:

            https://slate.com/human-interest/2022/06/shooting-school-tex...

            > In our exchanges, Kelley Watt had spoken proudly of Madison, a gifted artist and linguist, who to Watt’s frustration “doesn’t question things the way her mother does.”

            > In a fraught, seven-hour conversation, Madison relived the breakdown of her family while her mother pursued self-actualization through conspiracy-mongering. A reserved, cerebral young woman, she left Tulsa for good when she won a scholarship to a prestigious university in New York. Today she lives with her family in Europe, where she works as a consultant. She pushes back against her mother’s beliefs, but has never been able to dissuade her.

            > When cornered by the truth, Kelley Watt “moves the goalposts,” Madison said, and she didn’t see much hope for changing her mother’s mind. “The only thing that could make her question it would be if that inner circle of hers started to doubt or chip away, but even then, it would be hard,” she told me.

            https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/09/the-sandy-hook-hoax....

            > Alex Jones invited Halbig on his show to share his run-in with the police and to detail the 16 questions Halbig believed needed to be answered about Sandy Hook. (“12. Why did the parents of the two children who died at the Danbury hospital not allow their children to donate their organs to other children waiting for the gift of life?”) Halbig told Jones the stress of the investigation was threatening his marriage, but said in another interview that nothing could stop him. “You’re willing to die for this?” the host asked.

            > “Yes, I will,” Halbig said.

      • decebalus1 12 days ago
        If you have the time, listen to this https://www.thisamericanlife.org/670/beware-the-jabberwock It's really well produced and informative.
      • gpm 12 days ago
        You can probably find a video of the trial on youtube, which will have some excerpts (as in, some hour long videos of him ranting, and some 10 second clips of him ranting).

        No one will have a link to everything he actually said, since some unclear amount of it was deleted.

      • wyager 12 days ago
        undefined
        • Beltalowda 12 days ago
          He claimed loudly and often for years; "at one point" makes it sound like an off-hand remark he made once or twice, but that's not really the case.

          He started backpeddling the minute people filled suit, as any true man of principle fighting the bad guys would do.

          For years he made factual claims about specific people that are demonstrably and provably untrue (i.e. that they're "crisis actors" who faked the lot), which does not fall under Free Speech, and did cause damages because several of Jones' followers did harass various survivors and family members with their bullshit.

          • wyager 12 days ago
            undefined
            • graywh 12 days ago
              the shooting was in 2012 and the lawsuits were filed in 2018
        • oliwarner 12 days ago
          This is just a terrible take.

          You should read one of the billion case summaries published this week. Maybe you'll see why "tons of people" have reacted the way they have.

    • pacomerh 12 days ago
      Very contradictory. In many cases these insane theories or "freedom of speech" incite actions that affect innocent people. It all sounds very poetic and free until it happens to you right. If your sense of reality becomes someone else's reality how can you defend yourself?.
    • toolz 12 days ago
      The lawsuit was filed in 2018 and Jones has multiple videos as early (maybe earlier) as 2016. I'm not sure how this makes any sense. I think Jones is disgusting and pushing paranoia and fear for a living is disgusting, but I can't understand any world where it's just that a person makes a potentially genuine mistake in their opinion/judgement, explicitly corrects that mistake multiple times and then only multiple years after correcting that mistake is sued.

      Intent matters and after watching the trial I have very little understanding how the jury came to that verdict other than they just wanted to punish a bad person any way they could.

      I think the world will be a better place if Jones and his gross idea of media, disappears, but I have a feeling he's just going to be made into a martyr here.

      • dragonwriter 12 days ago
        > but I can't understand any world where it's just that a person makes a potentially genuine mistake in their opinion/judgement, explicitly corrects that mistake multiple times and then only multiple years after correcting that mistake is sued.

        Had Jones wanted to make the argument that he made a genuine mistake rather than knowing libel, he could have participated in discovery and trial rather than stonewalling and getting a default judgement.

        Had he wanted to argue that he had made an after the fact retraction which reduced the damages suffered by the victims of his libel, he had the opportunity to make that argument, AFAIK, in the compensatory damages phase.

        > Intent matters and after watching the trial I have very little understanding how the jury came to that verdict other than they just wanted to punish a bad person any way they could.

        There is a reason punitive damages are called punitive: they aren't to compensate for harm, they are to punish, and thereby deter repeats of the action by the same or other parties.

        • vkou 12 days ago
          > he had the opportunity to make that argument, AFAIK, in the compensatory damages phase.

          Or in the years between when he started his smear campaign, and the consequences thereof finally catching up to him.

          Between this and the Tim Eynman verdict[1] (Who pretty much followed the same legal playbook, up to filing for bankruptcy[2]), it's not been a great week for grifters.

          [1] https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/judge-orders-eyman...

          [2] And then trying to take back that filing. When he realized that you can't use it to hide your stolen money from the courts. [3]

          [3] https://www.atg.wa.gov/news/news-releases/bankruptcy-judge-a...

        • gpm 12 days ago
          > Had he wanted to argue that he had made an after the fact retraction which reduced the damages suffered by the victims of his libel, he had the opportunity to make that argument, AFAIK, in the compensatory damages phase.

          He did, and he made the argument, and played the video in which he claimed he retracted them to the jury.

      • jcranmer 12 days ago
        > a potentially genuine mistake in their opinion/judgement

        The standard for defamation in the case of public figures (for which the parents of the Sandy Hook victims probably qualify because it's that broad) is "actual malice"--the speaker needs to either know that the statement was false (at the time it was made) or entertained serious doubts as to its veracity. For non-public figures, it's generally lowered to "reckless negligence". The other required element for defamation is that it has to be damaging--you need to show that you suffered as a result of the allegedly defamatory statement.

        If it's at the point where the statement is causing people to issue death threats against you, it's not a "potentially genuine mistake".

        • dragonwriter 12 days ago
          > The standard for defamation in the case of public figures (for which the parents of the Sandy Hook victims probably qualify because it's that broad) is "actual malice"

          That's true, but also somewhat irrelevant since Jones suffered default due to wilfully refusing to comply with court process; there was no trial on liability, only damages.

          • jcranmer 12 days ago
            I was answering for the general case more than the specifics of the lawsuits that Jones faces; you've already covered the defaulting aspect well.
      • nemothekid 12 days ago
        >explicitly corrects that mistake multiple times and then only multiple years after correcting that mistake is sued.

        Huh? Maybe I missed something, but I'm pretty sure he was still claiming Sandy Hook was a false flag on Joe Rogan as late as 2020

        • evan_ 12 days ago
          He claimed on the witness stand during the trial that the FBI was involved in the murders- and then later yelled at the mother that she was being manipulated by deep state agents.

          Any suggestion that he's "admitted it was 100% true" are BS. He seems to be allowing (for now) that people really died and at least some of the families were not actors, which is an improvement, but he's not really caught up to reality yet.

          A lot of the trial was spent trying to convince the jury that there was some ulterior motive behind the lawsuit, and he's been airing stuff suggesting that the judge and the plaintiff's lawyers are shadowy government agents.

          • FireBeyond 12 days ago
            I suspect a good part of it is that he knows and knew all along, but he made his money this way, and now his thought process is (rightly or wrongly) that if he acts like he sincerely believed it, then it's less evil to have said what he said because he was 'mistaken' and not a piece of shit.
    • bt4u 12 days ago
      undefined
    • s9w 12 days ago
      undefined
  • kayodelycaon 12 days ago
    It's a shame that while perjury during a civil trial is illegal, it's almost never prosecuted. His behavior was particularly egregious and I doubt this judgement will stop him from continuing to target everyone involved in the trial.
  • wnevets 12 days ago
    He got off easy considering he was profiting by ruining these people's lives
    • vkou 12 days ago
      This is just the first of three trials, and he's already been found guilty in one of the other two (By failing to comply with discovery.)
    • Rackedup 12 days ago
      undefined
      • stjohnswarts 12 days ago
        He added a lot of undue trauma and made them the target of his rabid followers and they were constantly (and still are) inundated with harassing calls/emails/etc up to and including regular death threats, and some of Jones' unstable cult are fully capable of being mentally ill enough to do that. What would it be like to constantly be looking over your shoulder for someone ready to blow your head off
        • pstuart 12 days ago
          It's stochastic terrorism.
        • Rackedup 12 days ago
          > stjohnswarts - He added a lot of undue trauma and made them the target of his rabid followers and they were constantly (and still are) inundated with harassing calls/emails/etc up to and including regular death threats, and some of Jones' unstable cult are fully capable of being mentally ill enough to do that. What would it be like to constantly be looking over your shoulder for someone ready to blow your head off

          ah ok... so if I say something, and someone else does something because they think they should, I am responsible for it? (even if I never told anyone to do anything)... are those people being prosecuted too? or does he take all the blame?

          I probably should be 100 years in jail and pay 200 millions... who knows what people have done after what I said... The justice system is a bit strange, to say the least.

          • white_dragon88 12 days ago
            Welcome to the concept of ‘plausible deniability’, where you can claim zero responsibility from the secondary effects of your actions. Problem is, that can still fall into the category of incitement. So to your question, the answer is one that would be answered best on a case by case basis. When it comes to Jones, one can definitely argue that he effectively puts a target on the back of those he talks about, and that argument is successfully being made in a courtroom.
          • Karupan 12 days ago
            > ah ok... so if I say something, and someone else does something because they think they should, I am responsible for it

            If you deliberately keep spreading a lie to profit from it, you should be held responsible IMO.

            • Pakdef 12 days ago
              > Karupan - If you deliberately keep spreading a lie to profit from it, you should be held responsible IMO.

              By that definition, this should apply to Santa Claus story tellers and the Church? Can I sue them for poisoning the life of my kids? They are teaching kids that lying is ok, after all.

              • Karupan 12 days ago
                I’m actually ok with that. All organised religions are motivated by power and money, so why not?
                • Pakdef 12 days ago
                  You are OK with the Church lying because you agree with what they are saying?
                  • Karupan 12 days ago
                    I should've quoted my previous response. My reply was to this quote of yours:

                    > Can I sue them for poisoning the life of my kids? They are teaching kids that lying is ok, after all.

      • belltaco 12 days ago
  • apazzolini 12 days ago
    Let me know once he actually transfers a non-zero sum towards either the punitive or compensatory amounts.
    • golergka 12 days ago
      I'm a minor Russian political activist and a lot of my friends have had to fled the country in order to avoid persecution. This case and the manner in which the trial has been conducted is night and day difference to what Russian state does to it's citizens. I don't have the time or endurance to describe all the details to you, but just as a simple example — a regional parliament member has been recently sentenced to 7 years in prison for calling the current invasion of Ukraine a “war”.
      • 59125throwaya 12 days ago
        For those interested in more insight on how Russia now and in the past is not like the west, I have found The Eastern Border podcast to be illuminating. https://theeasternborder.lv/ Look for the episodes prior to the war in Ukraine.
      • spuz 12 days ago
        What is it about this trial that stands out to you? I can tell you it's a very unusual example of a civil trial in the US so I'm not sure how it is supposed to compare with a criminal trial in Russia.
        • golergka 12 days ago
          The fact that it is recorded and available to the wide audience. The fact that the prosecution actually had to present evidence. The fact that a wide audience actually cares about this trial. The fact that this trial is covered by the media. The fact that the whole trial takes more than half an hour. The fact that the defendant only risks his money but not his freedom.
          • giantrobot 12 days ago
            Just a small correction, this is a civil case so there's no prosecution but instead a plaintiff. The workings of civil and criminal trials are similar though, the plaintiff has to make a case in court like a criminal prosecution would. Also in civil cases can result in criminal charges for things like contempt of court and perjury. Those are separate criminal proceedings but you can't just go into a civil trial and lie or otherwise break the law.
          • somewhat_drunk 12 days ago
            Yes, despite our rhetoric to the contrary, the rule of law is still quite strong in the USA.

            Thank fucking god.

    • mlyle 12 days ago
      Generally, to appeal a judgment, you need to post a bond. Otherwise, the other side can move to enforce the judgment. This seems to be the case in Texas, though it seems the amount of the bond is capped at 50% of his net worth.
      • thebradbain 12 days ago
        Per the NYT [1], "his and Free Speech Systems’ combined net worth likely fell between $135 million and $270 million."

        So depending on what that split is, and how the court considers Free Speech Systems's worth in relation to him, that cap wouldn't necessarily apply.

        [1] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/05/us/alex-jones-finances.ht...

        • mlyle 12 days ago
          Yes. I'm just pointing it out as a caveat because of his attempts to shield assets.
          • FireBeyond 12 days ago
            Many of his attempts have gone beyond 'shielding' to outright illegally hiding assets.
        • TheHypnotist 12 days ago
          That's a pretty successful grift. A lot of gullible people out of money.
  • anonAndOn 12 days ago
    This PBS Frontline episode is a good primer on Alex's rise to infamy: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/documentary/united-states...
  • amelius 12 days ago
    What happened to his lawyer, who accidentally (?) sent his phone conversations to the opposing party?
    • snoopy_telex 12 days ago
      Nothing yet, but it’s a lot more then just the phone and it’s a huge mess.

      https://www.emptywheel.net/2022/08/04/its-a-tremendous-amoun...

      • threeseed 12 days ago
        Huge mess is an understatement.

        The phone conversations have also been handed over to the Jan 6 commission, FBI, DOJ etc.

        • hunterb123 12 days ago
          You can't use leaked attorney/client information for investigations.

          The texts were from 2019 as well, not sure how they are relevant to J6.

          - 4A protects against unreasonable searches

          - 5A guarantees due process

          - 6A guarantees right to counsel

          Using leaked information from an attorney violates all three.

          -- EDIT --

          > FireBeyond: 5A - due process - due process includes supplying all information.

          No it does not, you only have to supply subpoenaed information relevant to the trial.

          The lawyer leaked THE ENTIRE PHONE.

          Passing that leaked info to ANOTHER investigation is a bigger no no.

          • FireBeyond 12 days ago
            This was information that should have been supplied during discovery. All that Jones supplied was the results of a simple search, which as we now know was only a small fraction of what should have been given.

            5A - due process - due process includes supplying all information. Which Jones didn't do, and very arguably, the plaintiffs were entitled to this a long time ago. But this is unsurprising, as Jones has steadfastly interfered with, manipulated and otherwise messed with the discovery process.

            Then the lawyer, after not doing so when asked by the plaintiffs, tried to claim to the court that it was all privileged information, and the judge said that it was plainly not, and that if he wanted to flag that which was subject to privilege, now, he could, but Jones's textual communications with other parties could in no way be classified as "attorney/client" as you state.

          • maximilianburke 12 days ago
            It's not a leak if the lawyers fuck up. The plaintiffs asked the defendents if they wanted to claim privilege on the contents and the defendents refused, the ball is in play.
            • hunterb123 12 days ago
              First off, his "fuck up" was leaking it, second it's still protected under attorney client privilege if AJ didn't authorize it.

              Your attorney can't just leak (on purpose or accident) information you gave them and it be used against you.

              Just because you don't like X person don't allow the government to step on everyone's inalienable rights.

              If you went to trial for a traffic violation and your lawyer accidentally forwarded texts of you buying drugs, how would you feel being charged by the state for that crime?

              -- EDIT --

              > gpm: The law is explicit in this case that the attorney client privilege is waived by the attorney not asserting it within 10 days

              Please cite what you are referring to.

              • gpm 12 days ago
                The law is explicit in this case that the attorney client privilege is waived by the attorney not asserting it within 10 days, and the judge has already explicitly oked sending it to the j6 committee, and the judge has already only very slightly less explicitly oked sending it to whoever else the plaintiffs attorney feels like (with the exception of some medical information).

                Is that law unconstitutional with respect to letting attorneys waive attorney client privilege? I have no clue. In practice it doesn't matter, the cat is out of the bag already and no one has even begun to advance such an argument to the court.

              • FireBeyond 12 days ago
                > First off, his "fuck up" was leaking it

                That may have been a fuck up, in that he didn't intend to do so. But it was still information plaintiffs were entitled to.

                > second it's still protected under attorney client privilege if AJ didn't authorize it

                This is wrong. The vast majority of that information was discoverable and should have been discovered beforehand, but Jones withheld it. You can't refuse to "authorize" the release of discoverable information, which is probably why his lawyer didn't (initially) try to claim privilege.

                • gpm 12 days ago
                  > But it was still information plaintiffs were entitled to.

                  Some of it was (such as the text message that they sprung on Jones during the trial), other parts were definitely not. Both sides seem to agree that there is data involved that would be attorney client privileged up to that privilege being waived.

              • wombatpm 12 days ago
                Buts it's hard to claim privledge on documents you claimed did not exist. The Judge could review said documents and indicate they should have been proivided during discovery and sanction the laywers. The judge already went nuclear with issuing a default judgement against Jones.

                Default judgement was entered in part for the games played by Jone's team during discovery. Hard to appeal that decision when your defense is "You can't punish us for lying just because we accidently sent you the truth."

                • hunterb123 12 days ago
                  You only have to provide relevant documents requested by the court.

                  The entire phone was leaked and provided to another investigative body for an unrelated matter.

                  AJ did default on the case, but it ends at the ruling against him. Leaked information cannot be used in another investigation.

              • xoa 12 days ago
                >>gpm: The law is explicit in this case that the attorney client privilege is waived by the attorney not asserting it within 10 days

                >Please cite what you are referring to.

                So you're misunderstand a number of things here. First, to specifically clear up one explicit part of the law here for you, this is a state case not federal under Texas rules. The specific one here is Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 193.3 [0]:

                >(d) Privilege not waived by production. A party who produces material or information without intending to waive a claim of privilege does not waive that claim under these rules or the Rules of Evidence if - within ten days or a shorter time ordered by the court, after the producing party actually discovers that such production was made - the producing party amends the response, identifying the material or information produced and stating the privilege asserted. If the producing party thus amends the response to assert a privilege, the requesting party must promptly return the specified material or information and any copies pending any ruling by the court denying the privilege.

                Further, there is explicit case law on this too, here the Texas Supreme Court ruling that inadvertent disclosure waives privilege unless there is an assertion of right within 10 days [1]:

                >The attorney-client privilege may also be waived by inadvertent disclosure during litigation, if the disclosure is accompanied by conduct inconsistent with claiming the privilege of confidentiality. "[T]he essential function of the privilege is to protect a confidence that, once revealed by any means , leaves the privilege with no legitimate function to perform." Notwithstanding actual disclosure, however, Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 193.3(d) preserves a claim of privilege if the privilege holder (1) did not intend to waive the privilege and (2) takes prompt action to claim the privilege after "actually discover[ing]" the disclosure was made. Rule 193.3(d)"was designed to ensure that important privileges are not waived by mere inadvertence or mistake." But when inadvertence is coupled with failure to take prompt remedial action after discovering actual disclosure of privileged information, the privilege is waived because inaction under such circumstances is inconsistent with claiming the privilege.

                Further, it's not just an automatic blanket thing. A lot of the information here was information that Jones/team were supposed to turn over in discovery. They broke the rules by not doing so and then lying about it. There was also lots of stuff there that wasn't covered by any attorney-client privilege because it had nothing to do with their communications about the case.

                FURTHER, when it was brought up, neither Jones nor his lawyer actually objected in court! Which is mindboggling itself. But that too is a waiver.

                Anyway plaintiff's attorney notified them, and they didn't assert privilege within the ten day deadline, game over. You're ignorant of the law and unjustified in your anger about this.

                ----

                0: https://www.stcl.edu/lib/TexasRulesProject/TRCP186-193/rule1...

                1: https://casetext.com/case/paxton-v-city-of-dall-1

                • hunterb123 12 days ago
                  That clears up what you're referring to, but we're talking past each other here.

                  I'm not saying the information that he needed to disclose was protected, I'm saying the rest of the information on the phone that was leaked that wasn't relevant to the case was protected and can/should not be used in another investigation.

                  • xoa 12 days ago
                    >but we're talking past each other here.

                    No, you're just stubbornly wrong at this point.

                    >I'm saying the rest of the information on the phone that was leaked that wasn't relevant to the case was protected and can/should not be used in another investigation.

                    No, it's not. I cited the law on it. They have waived any privilege over any of that, it's not protected at all anymore it's free and clear for the plaintiff's attorneys, and in turn they can be subpoena'd by any other investigative effort same as any other 3rd party. Jones and his attorneys completely and utterly blew it. That's the law. Maybe you think the time limit in Texas should be two weeks or two months or there shouldn't be one, but that's not the rules and it is literally the job of lawyers to know and follow the rules in the courts they practice in.

                    • hunterb123 12 days ago
                      No you're wrong on this one. What you're referencing is only specific to the civil case in Texas, it is not material to the J6 federal investigation and irrelevant illicitly obtained material cannot be used for it.

                      > You're ignorant of the law and unjustified in your anger about this

                      So many lawyers here today. I know you really want to justify abuse of the court and violation of the Constitution to meet your vendetta, but the fact is protected information was leaked without AJ's approval, and irrelevant illicitly obtained information was sent to a partisan committee. It's an abuse of the system.

                      • xoa 12 days ago
                        >No you're wrong on this one. What you're referencing is only specific to the civil case in Texas, it is not material to the J6 federal investigation and irrelevant illicitly obtained material cannot be used for it.

                        Nope. They forfeited privilege over it, there was nothing illicit about it. That phone image is now legally possessed by the plaintiff's lawyers. They can in turn be served for it by any other entity from there. It's just classic third party doctrine at that point. They could choose to fight it themselves if they wanted, but Jones simply doesn't have any say anymore. You're clearly Big Mad over this since you're trying to claim that legally obtained material is "illicitly maintained" but you're wrong.

                        >but the fact is protected information was leaked without AJ's approval, and irrelevant illicitly obtained information was sent to a partisan committee. It's an abuse of the system.

                        You've invented this make believe law in your head that is no doubt very pretty but doesn't really have anything to do with the actual law. Jones could potentially sue his lawyers for malpractice, but that doesn't magically pull back the information. They had a 10 day window to do that. Or perhaps another window when it came out, in court, to immediately object. They chose not to do so.

                        • hunterb123 12 days ago
                          AJ did not forfeit privilege over it, he was informed of it on the stand on day 12. When sending it his lawyer said disregard as it was sent in mistake, he did not claim privilege BUT more importantly he DID NOT inform his client.

                          The lawyer certainly committed malpractice in that he leaked privileged client information without consent and did not inform his client so he could contest it, therefore the material was illicitly sent and obtained.

                          Also I'm not sure why you keep doing it, but please stop trying to annotate my emotions, you're as far off reading my mind as you are reading the law.

    • tptacek 12 days ago
      There's an order to show cause in Connecticut court, where he'll have to make a case for the court not sanctioning him for having the medical records from the CT case (to which he is not a party). So that drama is ongoing.
    • wombatpm 12 days ago
      When you are actively hiding documents during discovery for no ethical reason, its easy to make a mistake. It's not like you can have a folder labled - Withheld discovery DO NOT SEND on your server.
  • faizshah 12 days ago
    Anyone got a good law blog article for legal analysis on this case and the implications?
  • thepasswordis 12 days ago
    It's really weird reading some of these threads, because people say things with such authority which are demonstrably wrong.

    1) Alex Jones was famous long before his Sandy Hook crap.

    2) I don't know how you could call him "conservative" when, during the Bush years, he was a vocal anti war person who claimed that 9/11 was an inside job that was being used as a pretext for war.

    3) Anti authoritarian, maybe?

    4) Actually there are chemicals in the water that are disrupting hormones (turning the frogs "gay"): https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/ind...

    5) He recanted the Sandy Hook claims as early as 2019.

    Alex Jones is absolutely nuts. There should be punishment for what he has done to these Sandy Hook families.

    That said: I hope people are just as happy when Kyle Rittenhouse receives a few 10s of millions of dollars from every news agency which slandered him (knowingly) as well. Otherwise this does feel like weaponizing the courts, which is concerning.

    • divided 12 days ago
      In my experience, news programs are very precise over using “alleged” or “suspected” when describing defendants until they’ve been proven guilty. And they quickly issue corrections when known facts change.

      Opinion programs, however, can be much more loose with their language. Tucker Carlson famously avoided repercussions from his speech with this defense.

      This isn’t a new thing. People still call OJ Simpson a murderer despite being declared not guilty in his criminal trial. People call George W Bush a murderer despite never even being charged with a crime.

      Colloquially, murderer can also be used to mean killer. Rittenhouse is a killer.

      I don’t see his lawsuits going anywhere, but I’m open to there being actual good evidence and argument for it. Maybe you can provide some great clips or articles with the slander, but otherwise I think the comparison with what Jones did is laughable.

  • lmeyerov 12 days ago
    "Bernard Pettingill told the court that records indicate Jones withdrew $62m for himself from his company in 2021 as his legal troubles grew."

    "The trial heard that Jones' business had earned about $800,000 in a single day selling diet supplements, gun paraphernalia and survivalist equipment."

    The court records here are great. I've never seen a good analysis on the economics of misinformation, especially the private industry disconnected from state/political actors. Think everyone from big social media platforms to small troll farms down to individual influencers.

    One powerful part of security defenses is making attacks economically infeasible, so understanding this is huge. Seeing the finances of an apex misinformation influencer like Alex Jones revealed is fascinating!

    • russellbeattie 12 days ago
      I've been sort of flabbergasted at the amount of money involved. Evil pays quite well, apparently.
      • paulcole 12 days ago
        > Evil pays quite well, apparently

        Yes this is surprising considering … gestures broadly at all of human history..

        • lmeyerov 12 days ago
          Maybe?

          A troll farm might employ 50 people... But at low wages. Trump & has social media director parceled out a lot of money to bot controllers, but it didn't seem like a lot to any individual. We know some boring influencers go big (ex: Kardashians) is a data point, but to see that Alex Jones is in this league is surprising.

          When I looked at some bigger anti-vaxxers, they seemed to be shilling courses that required a lot of work, so I wouldn't have guessed 8 figured in this world.

  • dukeofdoom 11 days ago
    Here's Alex responding to the verdict, and discussing it on air with his former lawyer.

    https://theinfowar.tv/watch?id=62eee4000e67d64cfac9d44f

  • dukeofdoom 12 days ago
    The Trial can be found here, if anyone wants to watch.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hEYdiY_yGA&list=PLoW1SIeAWa...

  • SteveMorin 12 days ago
    So glad for that verdict. Lies should be allowed to that degree.
  • victorclf 12 days ago
    Honest question. Isn't this off topic according to the guidelines? It's something that's being discussed everywhere on the news and, in my opinion, is more likely to cause outrage than satisfy any intellectual curiosity.
  • sazz 12 days ago
    It's always a matter of perspective I think.

    Of course, now they will all dance again because they have finished off a "bad guy". Right-wing, talking nonsense, earning money - fits perfectly into the prey pattern.

    I watched "The Big Short" again yesterday. There was the saying that people are only ever interested in the next football match or some celebrity's rehab.

    You could also extend it to which "bad guy" is thrown to the lions. The main thing is that the mob gets its entertainment.

    The real bad guys - the ones who have brought suffering to hundreds of thousands of people - remain untouchable, of course.

  • jmyeet 12 days ago
    Let me give you a rundown of the lore on this saga because it's psychotic. He is most known for Info Wars. His various claims have been beyond bizarre, including psychic vampires.

    Alex Jones, for those who don't know, is a fringe conservative commentator long before we had terms like "alt-right". He shot to fame (in those circles) with his claims about the Sandy hook massacre saying it was faked and a government false flag operation.

    This unleashed his unhinged followers to harass the families who just had their child killed by a mass shooter. Many had to move, go into hiding, get therapy and so on.

    He became even more (in)famous because of his ties to Trump. Trump was on his show.

    Jones got deplatformed by Youtube in 2018. As has become clear, this didn't impact his earnings at all.

    What came out of this and other court proceedings is that Jones had revenue of $50-100 million per year (since at least 2012). At times in 2018 he was making $800,000/day. This was from selling supplements and merch as well as from Info Wars. He claimed to be going bankrupt because of this proceedings, to which someone anonymously donated $8 million in crypto just last month.

    The parents who were harassed because of his lies (he admitted they were lies in court) have individually sued him. This case is in Texas. Most are in Connecticut. This is just the first trial of many. What we've seen this week is just the penalty phase of the Texas trial. He's already been found guilty.

    During discovery for this trial, Jones had to produce any texts and emails relating to Sandy Hook. He claimed there were none.

    LLast week, his lawyers gave the plaintiff's attorney a complete copy of everything on his phone for a 2 year period. In legal proceedings this is called "inadvertent production" and there are mechanisms for rectifying this. Opposing counsel informed Jones's lawyers os this mistake and they did... nothing.

    No effort was made to correct the error, assert privilege or assert confidentiality (according to the order for discovery). A 10 day window passed that basically meant that Jones's lawyers didn't assert privilege so the plaintiff's attorneys is free to do with that whatever they want (minus some medical records that need to be destroyed).

    The January 6 committee had been trying to get just the metadata from Jones for their investigation and had thus far failed. They have now subpoenaed these records.

    This information will likely be available in all the subsequent trials.

    So you have Jones who failed to produce relevant documents, lied under oath about that discovery and (maybe) his lawyers making knowingly false statements. This last point is important. As an attorney you can't (technically) tell a lie. If you know your client is guilty you can't lie and say they're not. If they knew of Sandy Hook texts and emails existing, not being produced and made false statements to the court about that, they can face displinary action.

    But it doesn't end there. Including in this massive data dump there was found child porn material. Jones has, I believe, claimed this was "malware".

    While all this is going on, while proceedings are still active, Jones went on his show and called the judge a pedophile. He even published a photo of the judge's likeness burning, which you could reasonably view as a threat.

    Remember this guy has revenues north of $50 million per year. That's relevant because Texas law has various limits on punitive damages. That's why there was testimony about Jones's income and assets in the punitive damage phase (ie punitive damages capped to a certain nebulous percentage under Texas law).

    The net result? $4 million in compensatory damages and another $45 million in punitive damages. People are talking about how bankruptcy won't protect him from this but I'm not sure people realize just how much money this guy has made.

    This may well be the craziest legal thing I've ever seen.

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    • stjohnswarts 12 days ago
      All I can say is try that in court. There is a reason the offenses of slander and libel exist. They are incredibly well thought out laws and well supported by precedence, common sense, and logic. Words can be every bit as dangerous as a sword, and Alex Jones is finding that out. It's actually quite black and white why it's not okay to slander and libel and why those who do it should have to pay the price for their offenses. These people had their lives ruined to an extent by Alex Jones and he has to be financially destroyed in order for him to understand, that's why the decision is as high as it is. Freedom of speech is not freedom to slander.
    • brown9-2 12 days ago
      > What damages were actually done here? $50m for "emotional distress" is ridiculous in any context.

      Let me guess: you don’t have kids

      • unixbane 12 days ago
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        • kentm 12 days ago
          > and only complete idiots think his misinformation has power.

          You do realize that the Jones Sandy Hook thing caused the parents in question to be stalked, harassed, and even shot at because Jones platformed this nonsense? And before you say "Well then why won't those people arrested?" the ones that could be identified were, like Wolfgang Halbig: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/wolgang-halbig-charged-sandy-...

        • brown9-2 12 days ago
          how is tax money used in a defamation case?
          • unixbane 12 days ago
            how is it not?
            • brown9-2 12 days ago
              it’s a civil case and not one brought by the government.
    • LBJsPNS 12 days ago
      Look up Stochastic Terrorism and get back to us.
    • 58028641 12 days ago
      Are you saying stochastic terrorism should be legal?
      • kypro 12 days ago
        Maybe? I don't think Madonna did anything illegal when she suggested someone should blow up the White House, for example. Would that count as stochastic terrorism?

        I don't believe that someone should ever be held responsible for the actions of someone else. It seems strange to me that what I'm legally allowed to say is limited based on whether a lunatic is likely to do something stupid.

        Also was this even terrorism? The article says they just caused "emotional distress".

        • tcmart14 12 days ago
          But you see the issue with this right? Taking this example. Osama Bin Laden should not have been pursued by the US for 9/11 for years. He did not physically fly an airplane into the twin towers, he just told another group of guys to do it.

          Another extreme example. Hitler did not personally gas all the people at Auschwitz, his speech did convince others to do it. If Hitler had survived and was on trail at the Nuremberg trails, should he be found guilty or responsible for the murders at Auschwitz?

          Taking less extreme example. A mob bosses doesn't performs hits himself, he tells underlings to do those things.

          When your speech is direction in advocating, inciting, or ordering violence and someone does it, the most dangerous part is not the person who carried out the violence, it is the person who could manipulate the other person to do the terrible thing. Jim Jones probably rings a bell here. He didn't after all physically force the poisoned koolaid down the throats of people, but he was able to manipulate lots of people drink it and to poison it.

          Now granted, these are all examples of criminal cases, not civil like this one. But the point comes across. There obviously are some forms of speech that should tie responsibility back to a person. In the case of a mob boss who orders a hit. The standard for these are high, which is good, it usually has to be direct with knowing that people will carry it out. So there is a difference where blindingly screaming into the wind to kill the president, that probably isn't going to stick. But when you know you are speaking to people who will carry out your will, then it does.

      • samatman 12 days ago
        It's a made up concept of very recent vintage, invented to win an election.

        https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=%...

        I don't think stochastic terrorism should be legal or illegal, I think it's a useless concept we were doing fine without.

    • friesfreeze 12 days ago
      > People should be able to monetize lies.

      What? No.

      > And people should be able to say things about people or companies that might cause a crazy person to do something crazy.

      Yeah sure, but that's not the issue here.

      > If the parents of Sandy Hook were harassed then the issue here is surely the harassers?

      False dilemma.

      > The reason I worry about this is because if I believe someone is doing something evil does that mean I now have to stay silent in case some crazy person agrees with what I'm saying and does something crazy?

      AJ was accused of defamation. There is free speech protection for alleged defamatory statements. If statement regards a public figure, must be knowing or reckless with regard to truth. If not a public figure, must be at least negligent.

      > I suppose I don't really understand what was illegal here.

      He defamed the parents by claiming they were crisis actors in the Sandy hook shooting. While perhaps not criminal, it is damaging to their reputation and the victims are entitled to compensation.

      > I also think $50m is simply an insane amount of money.

      (1) Sure, the defense bar would love you and (2) that what the jury found and (3) those are punitive damages - i.e. damages set to punish the defamer. $50m in damages need not be done and can be multiples of actual without any constitutional issues.

      > What damages were actually done here?

      Alex Jones harmed the reputation of the parents and families related to the Sandy Hook shooting.

      > $50m for "emotional distress" is ridiculous in any context.

      This is more of punishment than compensation. Personally, I can get on board for especially bad actors, but to each their own.

      > To those who agree with this, could you help me understand what Alex Jones did here that's any difference to what someone like Joe Rogan does when he accuses individuals like Klaus Schwab of being involved in some global conspiracy?

      I mean to start, Klaus Schwab is a public figure so the bar for fault is higher. Also, Schwab might figure that it is not worth suing.

      > Is it simply that Joe Rogan tends to accuse people with some meaningful about of fame evil conspiracies?

      Idk I don't listen to Joe Rogan lol.

      > And if so, what level of fame does someone have to have before it's legal to say what you think about them in public?

      I mean if you are flat out lying and know you are lying - basically never. But if you are acting in good faith you have some protection. Just look up defamation on wikipedia - it's not rocket science.

      • kypro 12 days ago
        Thanks for the detailed reply. I'm kind of shocked that so many people agree with this so it's really helpful to better understand peoples perspectives on this.

        I think part of the issue here is probably that we hold different views in regards to freedom of speech, and my mine are admittedly quite extreme. I disagree with libel laws, for example. I don't believe anyone has a right to a reputation, but I do think they have a right to speech. To address some of the points you made in regards to legality, I do understand that what Alex Jones did could be seen as illegal in the US, I think what I'm less clear on is where the lines are drawn and why what he done specifically is so bad that it warranted a $50m fine.

        Alex Jones, like or not, owns a media company and media companies often do lie about people. An example that comes to mind is that Kyle Rittenhouse had some very subjective and nasty things said about him by the media and by people with large followings online (perhaps deservingly, idk). Many media orgs implied, or outright said that he was a white supremacist. And I think we can probably agree that isn't good for Rittenhouse's reputation. So I what I don't understand how it's okay for a large authoritative media company like MSNBC to imply Kyle Rittenhouse is a white supremacist without evidence, but Alex Jones with his relatively small following can't suggest Sandy Hook was a hoax?

        Am I miss-understanding something here, or were these media orgs also potentially breaking libel law?

        • kentm 12 days ago
          Did those media outlets state that Rittenhouse was a white supremacist as a factual statement? Admittedly I don’t follow the mainstream news outlets that much, but I never recall seeing that. Some opinion columnists might have wrote an opinion that he was a white supremacist, but that is protected speech. It’s also protected for news organizations to report when other notable people call Rittenhouse a white supremacist. They’d also be protected if they called him a white supremacist and they had evidence, like finding him writing the 14 words. But stating lies as facts when you either know their lies or have reason to suspect they’re lies and don’t check (reckless disregard for the truth) opens you up to defamation.

          Defamation is actually very hard to prove. News organizations have been hit for defamation before but they typically don’t report in a way that they make factual claims they can’t prove. That’s why you often see news call politicians lies “incorrect statements” rather than lies.

          Now, Jones elected to not comply with discovery and, as a result, defaulted on his lawsuit. Therefore we don’t know if he would have been found liable for defamation had he made a good faith effort to comply with the court. But we do know that the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories were lies, and we have good reason to believe Alex knew or suspected that based on his own statements and evidence produced during the depositions.

        • rvz 12 days ago
          > Alex Jones, like or not, owns a media company and media companies often do lie about people. An example that comes to mind is that Kyle Rittenhouse had some very subjective and nasty things said about him by the media and by people with large followings online (perhaps deservingly, idk). Many media orgs implied, or outright said that he was a white supremacist.

          I just searched for anyone here mentioning about the establishment, mainstream media, politician(s) (including a democrat presidential candidate at the time) posting libellous remarks about Kyle Rittenhouse without evidence, even before the trial and was afterwards acquitted and of all comments, only yours came up highlighting this.

          Interesting isn't it how everyone mysteriously and instantly forgotten about that since now Alex Jones is the villain of the week?

          > So I what I don't understand how it's okay for a large authoritative media company like MSNBC to imply Kyle Rittenhouse is a white supremacist without evidence, but Alex Jones with his relatively small following can't suggest Sandy Hook was a hoax?

          > Am I miss-understanding something here, or were these media orgs also potentially breaking libel law?

          You are not mis-understanding anything. The hypocrisy of the mainstream media around defamation of Rittenhouse shows that once they believe they can get away with it, they will do it again and again to anyone else. They are looking for villains to make stories out of others and will spread those lies or defamation for profit. In general, No-one should be able to get away with that without paying fines or damages for defamation.

          For smaller media companies like Jones's Infowars was sued for this and his response to Sandy Hook was indefensible to begin with so he should just pay the fine and it should also apply even to mainstream media who should not get away with their unfounded libellous nonsense towards Rittenhouse. I'd expect him to be filing defamation cases against them.

      • unixbane 12 days ago
        >> People should be able to monetize lies.

        >What? No.

        He was obviously arguing from a standpoint that there shouldn't be a law against that specifically (there isn't), due to the implications such a law would have.

        • kypro 12 days ago
          Yes, but I think I probably could have been clearer. I don't think drug companies should be able to lie about the effectiveness of their products, for example.

          What I mean is that I don't think it should be illegal to say what you think about something as an individual, even if you're lying. If you're trying to sell a product then you I don't think you should be able to lie about what the product does, but you should be free to lie about how much you like it.

    • jlokier 12 days ago
      > I also think $50m is simply an insane amount of money.

      To you it is, but Alex Jones is very well off:

      - "Alex Jones worth up to $270m, expert says, as family seeks punitive damages" https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/05/sandy-hook-f...

      - "Bernard Pettingill told the court that records indicate Jones withdrew $62m for himself from his company in 2021 as his legal troubles grew." https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-62444302

      - "his and Free Speech Systems’ combined net worth likely fell between $135 million and $270 million." https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/05/us/alex-jones-finances.ht...

      > What damages were actually done here?

      Most of the amount is to punish and deter, not to compensate the parents.

      - "The punitive damages are meant to act as a deterrent, and to stop Jones from repeating his offence."

      - "[Punitive damages] are awarded when compensatory damages — the money given to the injured party — are deemed to be insufficient. [... They] are specifically designed to punish defendants whose conduct is considered grossly negligent or intentional. Punitive damages are also referred to as exemplary damages as they are intended to set an example to deter others from committing similar acts." https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/punitive-damages.asp

      $1m would be a big punishment to you, but too little to punish Alex Jones, who can apparently withdraw $62m from their own company in a year. Jones' estimated net worth was almost certainly a factor in the amount, along with an assessment of just how awful and grossly negligent his behaviour was.

      > I worry about this is because if I believe someone is doing something evil does that mean I now have to stay silent in case some crazy person agrees with what I'm saying and does something crazy?

      There's a big difference between you saying it to a few friends you think are stable, and building up a lucrative, commercial media empire to broadcast your for-massive-profit message to huge numbers of random people, when you know that many of them believe what you say very seriously, and saying to them over, over and again that someone who looks like a grieving parent is secretly doing somethng evil and something should be done about it.

      That said, to some extent yes you should be careful about saying things that have harmful consequences you could reasonably anticipate. It is possible to be grossly negligent with speech. For example if I told you a drink was safe that I knew contained a poison so that you drank it and then died from the poison, I could not hide behind free speech for that. If you're talking with a friend that you believe will do something crazy if you say certain things, please do be careful what you suggest to them.

    • adventured 12 days ago
      > And if so, what level of fame does someone have to have before it's legal to say what you think about them in public?

      Obviously subjective and would be determined in a court of law (public figure vs not a public figure). And besides, there are still limits to that regardless. If you publish a damaging lie about a public figure, they can sue you for very large amounts of money as they see fit. For example, if you're the NY Times and you print that a very famous actor is a pedo, and do so without enormous amounts of proof, prepare for an epic lawsuit that you will lose badly.

      • smegsicle 12 days ago
        > For example, if you're the NY Times and you print that a very famous actor is a pedo, and do so without enormous amounts of proof, prepare for an epic lawsuit that you will lose badly.

        did this happen? i thought not being able to say whatever you wanted about public figures was a uk thing

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    • kemayo 12 days ago
      For what it's worth, Jones did have to spend several years consistently abusing the discovery process (across multiple cases before this same judge) before it got to this point. It's not like he made one or two innocent mistakes and got slammed down for it. It escalated through a whole bunch of different penalties that didn't fix the misbehavior before this default judgement happened.

      If you're curious you can read the court order: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/21074211-alex-jones-...

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  • hamiltonians 12 days ago
    I thought it was 5 million. I wonder if he will get out of it like has done in the past... a lot of money
    • jcranmer 12 days ago
      $4 million was the compensatory damages. $50 million is the punitive damages award.
      • evan_ 12 days ago
        It's right in the article:

        > A jury in Texas ruled the radio host must pay $45.2m in punitive damages, in addition to $4.1m in compensatory damages they awarded a day earlier.

        A bunch of people on Twitter are saying that usually Texas will limit punitive damages to $750,000, but there's also some arguments for why that may not apply in this situation, so we'll get to watch this ping-pong around for years probably before anyone actually gets paid.

  • Kukumber 12 days ago
    This kind of justice with special treatment only encourages people to believe in conspiracy theories

    I'm not sure that'll be effective, even though something had to be done

    • ncallaway 12 days ago
      > special treatment

      What special treatment?

  • martin1975 12 days ago
    The chance of AJ paying out any money on this will be slim to nil, IMHO. I have no idea how they even came up with that figure on those parents other than some lawyer thought it'd be cool to just ask for so much money because they figure AJ can afford it. If there are any real damages, they are certainly not in the stratospheric amounts the jury awarded....
    • jen20 12 days ago
      > If there are any real damages, they are certainly not in the stratospheric amounts the jury awarded

      “Punitive”.

  • IronWolve 12 days ago
    The judge found him guilty of withholding evidence and did a summary judgement of guilty, and moved to the damages portion with a jury.

    Which is strange, skipping over the evidence trial and going straight to damages. They didnt say what the evidence being withheld was, and no video evidence against him.

    Thats what would have been interesting to see, the videos the case was based on.

    Banes Law did a good comment on the case @ https://files.catbox.moe/rsy84f.mp4

    • nneonneo 12 days ago
      These are not summary judgments, they are default judgments. Alex Jones repeatedly failed to comply with court orders to produce evidence, which resulted in him being in default of the court. IANAL, but FRCP rule 37(b)(2)(A)(vi) very clearly indicates that a default judgment "against the disobedient party" is a permissible outcome of "[failing] to obey an order to provide or permit discovery".

      Essentially, Jones was found in contempt of court, and the judge slapped him with a default judgment. It's not strange at all.

      • dragonwriter 12 days ago
        > but FRCP rule 37(b)(2)(A)(vi) very clearly indicates that a default judgment "against the disobedient party" is a permissible outcome of "[failing] to obey an order to provide or permit discovery

        Nitpick: this is a state case and the Federal Rules don't apply, but I think most US jurisdictions have very broadly similar default rules.

        • nneonneo 12 days ago
          Thanks for the clarification! The equivalent rule in the Texas RCP is 215.2(b)(5), "If a party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a party...fails to comply with proper discovery requests...the court in which the action is pending may, after notice and hearing...[render] a judgment by default against the disobedient party".
    • dragonwriter 12 days ago
      > Which is strange, skipping over the trial and going straight to damages.

      Well, its unusual for a party with a business and sizable assets to protect to do the kinds of things that lead to default judgement, since that's pretty easy to avoid and potentially costly.

      But it's not unusual for a court to find default when parties steadfastly refuse to cooperate with court process, and Jones has had default rulings against him in two other Sandy Hook defamation cases.

      Which looks a lot like he was afraid that discovery would reveal something much worse than what was at issue in those cases.

      • jcranmer 12 days ago
        > Which looks a lot like he was afraid that discovery would reveal something much worse than what was at issue in those cases.

        And the great irony is that, because of his lawyer's mistake, he has lost the ability to keep from discovery an awful lot of things, so that revelation is likely to happen anyways.

    • omnicognate 12 days ago
      The two people in that "Barnes Law" video engage in an extremely dishonest form of argument. According to them, the fact that somebody cannot name the specific evidence Jones' lawyers were ordered to produce in discovery somehow negates any views they might hold on the case, including that the default (not summary) judgement was fair. It's a cheap rhetorical trick for use when one has no better argument: come up with some detail one's opponent doesn't have to hand and attempt to claim that because they can't immediately answer that specific question they must therefore be wrong about everything. The use of this form of argument is in itself a strong indicator of bad faith.

      IANAL, but with a bit of Googling I found one of the requested items of discovery detailed in the Plaintiff's motion for expedited disovery at [1], in the letter from 2018 quoted at the end. It's a specific InfoWars video segment from 2017 that was no longer publicly available as it had been removed by Youtube and Facebook. Rather than provide this video or explain that (and why) they couldn't, the defendant's lawyers simply ignored the discovery request for more than 2 years, despite the court granting the motion for expedited discovery in october 2019. This and numerous other abuses were the reason for the default judgement [2].

      This information is available if you go looking for it. A lot more is presumably available if you have access to the necessary resources: Lexis Nexis, etc. However, the fact that some particular individual doesn't know it off the top of their head obviously has absolutely no bearing on whether the default judgement was reasonable.

      [1] https://infowarslawsuit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018-...

      [2] https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/21074211-alex-jones-...

      • kentm 12 days ago
        Gonna tag onto your statement here because I like it.

        I'm a little bit floored that people still believe Alex Jones and Barnes' (Barnes is an InfoWars contributor) claims about discovery. They were caught in the trial itself with evidence that they hid. The whole "cell phone" moment was a big deal because it was explicitly a piece of evidence required by discovery that was not provided. They are lying about how discovery went down to appear more sympathetic.

      • LBJsPNS 12 days ago
        One word: fanboys
    • notahacker 12 days ago
      It's not at all strange to skip over the evidence trial if one party consistently refuses to participate in the process of providing the evidence. Jones' lawyer accidentally sending the material he falsely claimed he didn't have after some months after he had been found guilty by default wasn't exculpatory...
    • callmeal 12 days ago
      That's actually a pretty bad comment - they commentators have no idea what they're talking about, and one of them even says "... assume it's the same under the US law" and goes on to disrepect the " ... judge, whatever her name is".

      Really, is this what you consider a "good comment"?

  • ericmcer 12 days ago
    Ignoring that Jones is a garbage human and just focusing on the case: that isn’t protected free speech? I don’t know all the rules around when speech isn’t protected but the article doesn’t really cover why this wasn’t.

    Does this set a precedent that anyone who spouts conspiracy theories about an event is targetable by those who suffered from that event?

    • dragonwriter 12 days ago
      > Ignoring that Jones is a garbage human and just focusing on the case: that isn’t protected free speech?

      No, while there are Constitutional limits (especially when the injured party is a public figure, see NY Times v. Sullivan), deliberate and often also reckless, harmful falsehood is not protected speech.

      > Does this set a precedent that anyone who spouts conspiracy theories about an event is targetable by those who suffered from that event?

      No, it just reinforces the existing precedent that people who deliberately or recklessly spread falsehoods about people can be sued by those injured by the falsehoods. Defamation isn't a new thing in law.

      And this isn't the first time that has bitten Alex Jones.

      • eyelidlessness 12 days ago
        > deliberate and often also reckless, harmful falsehood is not protected speech

        IANAL (I am not a lawyer; and IANAAJA—I am not an Alex Jones apologist), but I think deserves qualification. My understanding is that it’s not the falsehood which is restricted, it’s the damage caused by purveying the falsehood. If I’m not mistaken I can claim (anywhere under US jurisdiction, unless under oath or otherwise legally sworn to be truthful) that I have a cat (I don’t) without any legal risk to 1A protection whatsoever. Granted, that could raise other eyebrows which might gain legal force if I persisted, presumably around competency to care for myself (or my dog, who I assure you does exist).

        • scott_s 12 days ago
          Publishing falsehoods about other people is not always protected speech. (Whether the other people are considered “public” or “private” changes the standards for deciding if the speech is protected.)
        • ncallaway 12 days ago
          While you’re right, that damages are an important factor, it’s worth noting that these don’t have to be strictly limited to direct monetary damages.

          For example, Jones was defaulted on intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury’s compensatory damages were heavily weighted to IIED. So the damages can be abstract in some sense.

          But yes, generally defamation requires both material false statements of fact, and damages to a specific party.

    • enragedcacti 12 days ago
      It doesn't mean anything for protected free speech because:

      1) as other commenters have pointed out, this is for defamation against the parents for saying they were actors, sending "reporters" to harass them, etc.

      2) He lost the defamation case by default for repeatedly refusing to comply with the court pre-trial. This trial was solely to determine damages.

      > On September 27, 2021, a district judge in Texas issued three default judgments against Jones, requiring him to pay all damages in two lawsuits. These rulings came after Jones repeatedly failed to hand over documents and evidence as ordered by the court, which the judge characterized as "flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Jones#Sandy_Hook_school_s...

    • gizmo686 12 days ago
      > Does this set a precedent that anyone who spouts conspiracy theories about an event is targetable by those who suffered from that event?

      Not in any legal sense.

      1) Defamation is already well established in US law; no novel legal questions came up regarding the borders of protected speach in this case.

      2) Precedents are never set at trials. In order for anything from this case to become precedent, it would need to be appealed. Even then, the precedent is limited to the jurisdiction of the appellate court. For this to result in a national precedent, it would need to make its way to the Supreme Court.

      3) It was already ruled that Jones is liable, this decision is entirely about the amount. The ruling on liability was not based on the merits of the case, but instead on procedural concerns. Specifically, in the words of the court:

      > Defendants' dicovery conduct in this case has shown flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilies of discovery under the rules. The Court finds Defendants' conduct is greatly aggravated by the consistent pattern of discovery abuse throughout the other Sandy Hook cases pending before this court. ... In sum, Defendants have been engaged in pervasis and persistent obstruction of the discovery process in general. The Court is also faced with Defendants' refusal to produce critical evidence. Defendants have shown a deliberate, contumacious, and unwarranted disregard for this Court's authority. Based on the record before it, this Court finds that Defendants' egregious discovery abuse justifies a presumption that its defenses lack merit.

      If there is any precedent to be set here, it would not be about the merits of the defamation case, but about the due process implications of the default judgement. Having said that, I found that to be an even bigger stretch then a hypothetical challenge on the merits, as Jones was given ample oppurtunity to participate but simply choose not to.

      https://infowarslawsuit.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Septe...

      • sophacles 12 days ago
        There may be due process concerns over refusing to follow the due process?
        • ncallaway 12 days ago
          Jones was afforded due process. Due process requires you to participate in the _process_, which he refused to do repeatedly, for years.

          He can appeal, but the authority for a trial court to issue a default judgement is not new precedent but rather well established. It’s quite _rare_, but it’s happened before.

          • kolanos 12 days ago
            > He can appeal, but the authority for a trial court to issue a default judgement is not new precedent but rather well established. It’s quite _rare_, but it’s happened before.

            It should be noted that default judgments rarely stick when appealed.

            • ncallaway 12 days ago
              It should? I went looking for appellate statistics for default judgements in Texas and couldn’t find anything.

              Do you have a source for the rate of successful appeals against default judgements in Texas (or even more broadly)

              I’m just not able to find anything on the topic one way or another.

              Edit to add: Also, are you referring to a Motion to Set Aside made to the original judge, or an appeal made to an appellate court? My understanding is most judges will grant a timely motion to set aside if the default judgement was granted for not showing up because you were unaware of the court proceeding or had extenuating circumstances.

              This default judgement was granted for misbehavior and refusing to engage with the process over years, so I’d want to look at statistics on successful appeals of a default judgement, and not statistics on successful motions to set aside.

              Though, again, after a bit of searching I could find neither.

          • sophacles 12 days ago
            I see now. Thanks
        • gizmo686 12 days ago
          In theory, the challenge to a default judgement would be due process based. In practice, this particular case is practically a textbook example of when due process is appropriate, so I don't see how such a claim could possibly succeed.

          The point I was making by bringing up a due process claim was that there is no path for this case to become precedent regarding free speech.

          • sophacles 12 days ago
            Oh I track now, thanks for clarifying.
    • ajaimk 12 days ago
      The plaintiffs lawyer said is best, "Speech is free, but lies you have to pay for."
    • BooneJS 12 days ago
      Defamation, Slander, etc. None are protected. Free speech protects you from the Government, not your fellow citizens.
      • kevinpet 12 days ago
        This is an incorrect analysis of where the conclusion comes from.

        Allowing the use of the courts to prohibit slander is a government action. Slander and libel are long standing exceptions to free speech. "Fighting words", espionage, contempt of court, or insubordination in the military are other exceptions that come to mind.

        The "the first amendment only applies to the government" is an argument that anyone is free to choose not to associate with you, or consider you a jerk, for something you said.

        • rootusrootus 12 days ago
          > The "the first amendment only applies to the government" is an argument

          "Congress shall make no law..." We've extrapolated a bunch from there, but the founding words are pretty clear.

      • BurningFrog 12 days ago
        The court is part of the government.
        • function_seven 12 days ago
          The court oversaw the case. It did not bring it.

          Example: I specifically prohibit peanuts in my kitchen, because I serve meals to allergic children. You sneak peanuts into the kitchen. I sue you and win.

          Does this mean "Peanuts are illegal"? No. I have a civil action and we have a system of civil courts wherein these grievances can be aired and adjudicated.

        • decebalus1 12 days ago
          That's a false equivalence. The court mediates the case between private parties. That's what civil court does. This is not a trial between 'the people' (the State) and Alex Jones. It's between some of the parents of the Sandy Hook massacre and Alex Jones. Jones is free to say whatever and the state cannot make laws about what he can say or cannot say, but that doesn't stop private individuals from suing him and winning.
          • notahacker 12 days ago
            to be fair, whilst it's true the distinction is hugely important to US concepts of free speech, it's also true it's not necessarily as material as it might seem. The state is composed of people, who have the right to sue their critics for alleged slander/libel (quite a lot of political speech involves making adversarial claims about people or corporate entities which could theoretically be ruled as malicious and factually untrue). Politicians suing other politicians or critics is unusual rather than not permitted in the US, but in other places like Singapore tort law is used consistently against prominent critics. It's possible for civil courts to be consistently biased in favour of politically-connected individuals and companies and for the consequences for criticism of them to be financially ruinous, and possible for actual criminal speech offences in other jurisdictions to have [lower] purely financial penalties, stronger presumptions in favour of the defendant and more scrupulously independent judicial processes.
        • bandyaboot 12 days ago
          Leaving aside the absurd logic, it doesn’t matter. Slanderous speech is not protected speech…the government is allowed and expected to facilitate consequences.
    • jcranmer 12 days ago
      Defamation is not protected under the first amendment.

      Jones might have had a credible defense against the allegations of defamation (I haven't bothered to read the original complaint or any of the motions)--and defamation is notoriously hard for the plaintiffs to win in the US--but he was so uncooperative during discovery that he had a default judgement entered against him, meaning the only thing the jury had to decide was how much damages to award.

    • chrononaut 12 days ago
      > Does this set a precedent that anyone who spouts conspiracy theories about an event is targetable by those who suffered from that event?

      Interestingly, despite whether people believe free speech applies or not, the argument whether it could be considered free speech is actually irrelevant because Alex failed to test that defense by defaulting in the original trials by failing to turn over documents. As such, I can't imagine this would set a precedent.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/us/politics/alex-jones-sa...

    • mypalmike 12 days ago
      "All dog owners are part of a secret cabal that eats babies" is protected speech.

      "This specific dog owner, Judy Smith, is part of a secret cabal that eats babies" is libelous.

      ... or at potentially so. There are situations where it might not be found libelous.

    • slibhb 12 days ago
      If Jones had stuck with "Sandy Hook was a false flag operation to take your guns," he would have been in the clear. The issue was his claim that the families whose children were murdered were "crisis actors".
      • luxuryballs 12 days ago
        It’s also interesting because he could still be 100% correct and they actually be crisis actors and the whole nine yards but that doesn’t actually matter in the outcome of the case as far as I can tell.
        • ncallaway 12 days ago
          If he was 100% correct, it seems deeply unlikely that he would’ve dodged discovery the way he did.
        • danso 12 days ago
          How would Jones be found liable for defamation if his claims were “100% correct”?
          • vkou 12 days ago
            By not showing up to court, and by not complying with discovery.

            Which is what he did, and why there are two default judgements against him.

            It doesn't matter how right you are, or how stupid a lawsuit against you is - if you don't show up, you aren't likely to win.

            • danso 12 days ago
              Presumably he would’ve made a greater effort to show up to trial had he an airtight case for the truth.
          • luxuryballs 8 days ago
            If it’s confirmed he was wrong then who would be even asking?
    • RadixDLT 12 days ago
      jones is a radio host thats why
    • dougSF70 12 days ago
      I guess free speech that is proveably false is what is at stake here. Conspiracy theories are OK provided they are cannot be proven to be untrue.