Conspiracy-theory magnate Alex Jones is no stranger to legal stunts. Embroiled in a custody fight with his ex-wife, the Infowars chief insisted that he only failed to remember simple facts about his kids because he’d eaten too much chili.
Now, faced with a lawsuit in Texas for promoting claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a “false flag attack,” Jones first claimed in depositions released last week that he suffered a “psychosis” that makes him think real-life events are fake.
Jones is trying a different, unorthodox approach to more courtroom trouble, this time in Connecticut. Attorneys for Sandy Hook parents suing Jones in that state for promoting conspiracy theories about the massacre say the conspiracy theorist and his allies are doing everything they can to avoid handing over internal Infowars documents and any emails written by Jones himself. When Infowars has actually handed over documents, the lawyers say, any files created by Jones are nowhere to be found.
The Sandy Hook parents appeared to have won a victory in January, when a judge ruled that Jones and Infowars would have to submit to the discovery process and hand over documents related to Infowars’ Sandy Hook coverage and its business. Suddenly, it seemed like details about how Jones runs Infowars—and how he capitalizes on national tragedies to sell Infowars-branded nutritional supplements to his audience—were about to spill into public view.
For that to happen, though, Jones actually needs to participate in discovery. Instead, Jones’ ever-changing legal team has repeatedly asked for extensions.
“The Jones defendants have stalled and stonewalled,” the Sandy Hook parents’ lawyers write in a court memo filed Tuesday. “Plainly their goal is to conceal their actions and avoid a full hearing by any means possible.”
Jones and the other defendants initially faced a Feb. 25 deadline to deliver the discovery files. After failing to make that date, they asked for an extension to March 20. As that deadline loomed, the Connecticut judge warned Jones that he needed to turn over documents by that date.
Then Jones and Infowars missed that deadline, too.
Jones claimed in an affidavit that he had been convinced by his then-attorney, Robert Barnes, that the March 20 discovery was on track, only to discover a day before the deadline that it wasn’t. The failure to meet the deadline, in this telling, wasn’t Jones’ fault, he said—it was his lawyer’s.
Barnes is no longer representing Jones in Connecticut. But Jones apparently still trusts Barnes’ legal abilities enough to let him represent him in the Sandy Hook case in Texas—and has even had him on Infowars since then, praising Barnes as a “respected constitutional lawyer.”
“There is absolutely no reason to credit Mr. Jones’ claims, and every reason to believe that he and Barnes agreed on and are pursuing a strategy of deliberate delay and misconduct,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers wrote in a court filing.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys didn’t respond to requests for comment. Jones’ new Connecticut attorney, Norman Pattis, denies that the defendants are deliberately avoiding discovery.
“We’re wading through 9.3 million emails gathered over 7 years,” Pattis wrote in an email to The Daily Beast. “That takes time. No one is dragging their feet.”
In late March, the Infowars documents finally started flooding in. The Sandy Hook plaintiff lawyers have received more than 30,000 documents from Jones and the other defendants, according to their court filing. But many of the files were “completely unresponsive,” and other documents were just duplicates.
“The productions to date are designed to drown the plaintiffs,” the attorneys wrote.
While the lawyers say many of the files they’ve received are unrelated to their case, they have proof that Infowars should have turned over many more files: an affidavit from Jones’ own father, David Jones. In February, the elder Jones claimed that Infowars had 80,000 files related to the search term “Sandy Hook” alone. As of Tuesday, those additional tens of thousands of documents had not been turned over.
Also absent from the flood of discovery files: any emails, text messages, or instant messages written by Jones himself.
“There appear to be no emails, instant messages or documents authored by Jones, and relatively few by his top employees,” they write. “It is implausible, given Mr. Jones’ admitted responsibilities, that such documents do not exist. “
The discovery files that have been handed over so far are also “disproportionately” light on documents created by other top Infowars employees, including Jones’ father and former star Infowars reporter Paul Joseph Watson, according to the families’ attorneys.
The Sandy Hook parents’ attorneys are asking the judge to sanction the defendants over the drawn-out discovery process, with a punishment that could include potentially rejecting a motion Jones’ side filed to dismiss the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Jones’ attorney insists that the discovery process is just taking a while.
“All this bitching and morning [sic] by the plaintiffs is simply a further attempt to demonize Jones,” Pattis told The Daily Beast.