Which Is It?

On the Stand, Alex Jones Insists His Rants Are Real—Despite His Lawyer’s ‘Performance Art’ Defense

Hedging against his lawyer’s insistence that he’s ‘playing a character,’ Jones took the stand to say the InfoWars Alex Jones is the real Alex Jones.

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast

AUSTIN, Texas—Alex Jones is not an impostor, he believes in all of the political stances he advocates, and you can take him at his word. At least, that is, according to testimony given by the InfoWars founder and conspiracy theorist par excellence during his custody trial in Austin on Wednesday.

“I’ve been in movies as an actor but I believe in the system I’m promoting of freedom and Americana and what makes it great,” Jones said.

Asked by his attorney Randall Wilhite to describe his life’s work, Jones said “I’m a radio talk show host and entertainer,” adding that he does “satire” and “combination news and entertainment.”

Jones added that he estimates his show is “90 percent hard news and punditry” as well as “short films and comedy jokes.” He said those claiming it’s all an act “are trying to play a trick on people.”

It was Jones’ first chance to address in court the assertion made by his own legal team that the bombastic, over-the-top Alex Jones persona is merely theater, akin to “judging Jack Nicholson in a custody dispute based on his performance as the Joker in ‘Batman,’” as Wilhite said it a previous hearing.

It’s a dangerous gambit by Jones that could force him into a lose-lose situation. If the on-air Alex Jones is the same Alex at home, he could potentially lose custody of his three children. If it’s all an act, he could stand to lose his credibility with the supporters that have helped him build a multi-million dollar business that Jones says employs 75 people.

The jury—and the press—were treated on Wednesday to an Alex Jones they had most likely never seen before: the doting father bragging about his kids and smiling profusely. He talked about cooking breakfast for his kids before school and pictures taken of the family at Enchanted Rock, Natural Bridge Caverns, and other central Texas spots that many an Austin juror probably remembers from school field trips.

It seemed a remarkably tame performance by Alex Jones standards, although he appeared at times to be struggling. Jones seemed incapable of answering questions directly and would repeatedly shake his head and squint at the ceiling in dismay at the objections of his ex-wife’s attorney Bobby Newman. Squeezed into his suit, he seemed to dominate the courtroom, largely due to his booming, gravelly voice that makes “breakfast” sound almost like a threat.

It was hard to gauge what jurors thought of hearing the same man who called the Sandy Hook massacre a hoax and just this last weekend surmised that former President Obama’s children are not his own gush about his own flesh and blood, and at least a couple of them appeared a bit apprehensive.

The day’s events turned out to be a mixed bag for Jones. Early in the proceedings, the case manager in his divorce Alissa Sherry testified that a previous psychiatric evaluation had ruled that he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, a condition typified by traits including a lack of empathy, arrogance, and a propensity for grandiose fantasies.

Prior to that, the case manager confirmed that Jones had taken off his shirt during a counseling session, saying that it was the only time she could remember anyone doing such a thing.

“It’s a rare thing to have happened,” Sherry said.

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Jones also spoke about how his 14-year-old son has “contributed to Infowars” since he was 10-years-old, though Jones added the caveat that “it’s just the PG stuff, not the serious stuff” and that “he comes up with ideas he’s interested in and asks to do something with the show.”

This assertion could come back to haunt Jones when not-so-PG clips from Infowars are shown later in the trial.

Jones noted his family and himself have security guards who ensured their safety, including personnel “which have guarded Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush.”

That testimony was followed by that of a court-appointed therapist who painted a negative picture of the emotional and psychological issues facing Kelly Jones, testimony that appeared to line up in Alex’s favor.

The proceedings were interspersed with brief moments of tension between Alex Jones and ex-wife Kelly Jones’ legal team, who have complained over the past two days that Jones is shaking his head and smirking at them repeatedly.

Jones’ testimony is set to continue on Thursday, where he will face cross-examination from an aggressive, seasoned legal team that will surely pull out all the stops to get the Alex Jones we all know to appear on the witness stand—unhinged, unafraid, and perhaps his own worst enemy.

Whether or not his shirt stays on remains to be seen.