Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said Wednesday that he now understands it was irresponsible of him to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax, and that he now believes it was “100% real.”
Speaking the day after the parents of a 6-year-old boy who died in a terrorist attack in 2012 testified about the suffering, death threats and harassment they were subjected to because Jones trumpeted on their media platforms, the Infowars host told a Texas court that he definitely thinks that the attack happened.
“Especially since I met my parents. This is 100% real,” Jones said at the trial to determine how much he and his media company Free Speech Systems owe for defamation of Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis. Their son Jesse Lewis was among 20 students and six teachers killed in the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, which became the deadliest school shooting in American history.
But Heslin and Lewis said Tuesday that an apology is not enough and that Jones needs to be held accountable for repeatedly spreading false information about the attack. They are looking for at least $150 million.
Jones told the jury that any compensation exceeding $2 million would “sink us,” but added: “I think it’s appropriate for any decision you want to make.”
The testimony ended around noon, and closing arguments are expected to begin on Wednesday afternoon.
Jones is the only person testifying in his own defense. His lawyer asked him if he now understood that it was “absolutely irresponsible” to make false claims that there was no massacre and that no one died.
Jones said yes, but added, “They (the media) won’t let me take it back.”
He also complained that he was “presented as a man who runs around talking about Sandy Hook, makes money on Sandy Hook, is obsessed with Sandy Hook.”
Under sharp cross-examination by attorney Mark Bankston, Jones acknowledged his history of making conspiracy claims in relation to other mass tragedies, from the Oklahoma City and Boston Marathon bombings to the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.