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Alex Jones is due to take the stand today (2 August) in his defamation trial in Austin, Texas – one of several brought by the families of Sandy Hook victims.
Jones is currently in the midst of a two-week trial to determine how much he must pay Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of six-year-old victim Jesse Lewis, in damages after spreading falsehoods about the deadly massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
The parents are seeking as much as $150 million from Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems LLC, with a pyschotherapist for the pair saying yesterday that the right-wing commentator’s comments had caused them overwhelming grief, setting their treatment back years.
According to Law and Crime Network’s Cathy Russon, today’s proceedings will begin with testimonies from plaintiffs, before Jones takes the stand.
Russon tweeted yesterday: “#AlexJones WILL take the stand tomorrow in his defamation trial. The plaintiffs are set to testify in the morning then the defense will put Jones on the stand.”
She added: "#AlexJones may testify via video. (Not sure why as he's been in person for at least some of the trial.)"
In opening statements last week, lawyers for Heslin and Lewis said Jones led a 'vile campaign of defamation', arguing that he must pay the price.
Lawyer Mark Bankston claimed that about 75 million Americans believe the Sandy Hook shooting was 'definitely or possibly staged', meaning the $150 million his clients are demanding symbolises 'one dollar for every one of those people in emotional damage' and another $75 million for the damage to their 'reputation'.
“For 10 years, Mr. Jones has robbed Neil and Scarlett of the time they needed to heal over the violent death of their son Jesse, because Mr. Jones wanted to sell more of his products,” he said.
“That is a huge verdict, to be sure, but it is one that will do justice to the level of harm done in this case.”
Psychotherapist W. Michael Crouch has testified that Heslin had repeated nightmares about Jones, and lives in fear of his followers after they sent death threats and began allegedly harassing him in public.
"You could see Neil change," he said of his patient, who, he claims, became obsessed with stopping Jones from spreading lies.
The trial comes after the families of 10 victims won defamation lawsuits against Jones last year. It is the first of three in which juries will decide upon how much the families should be awarded in damages.
In an earlier trial, Jones claimed he was suffering from 'a form of psychosis' when he made the remarks.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677