AUSTIN, Texas — A longtime sidekick to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones spoke Thursday in a lawsuit that will determine how much Jones and his Infowars website will have to pay a pair of Sandy Hook Elementary parents whose child was killed in the 2012 school massacre.
Attorney Kyle Farrar questioned Infowars show host Owen Shroyer, who has been on the conspiracy newspaper since 2016, about Infowars’ responsibility to verify its information before presenting it as fact to a potentially public. millions of listeners.
Farrar paid particular attention to a 2017 video by Shroyer in which he presented as fact a false story about the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, posted on the ZeroHedge blog. (US intelligence officials have accused ZeroHedge of publishing Kremlin propaganda.)
The story in question, by an anonymous user named “ZeroPointNow,” paints father Neil Heslin as a liar when he remembers holding the body of his dead son Jesse in a separate interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly.
A jury will soon decide how much money Jones and Infowars will have to pay Heslin and Scarlett Lewis for the pain and harassment they endured because Jones repeatedly said the shooting was fake.
Shroyer told viewers in the 2017 Infowars segment that “fact checkers” said the ZeroHedge story had merit. Still, on the stand Thursday, Shroyer admitted he had no idea who “ZeroPointNow” was. And the fact checker he referred to on this episode was Jim Fetzer, author of the book “Nobody Died in Sandy Hook”.
“You did zero to determine if the story was accurate, didn’t you?” asked Farrar.
“Correct,” Shroyer said. He later acknowledged, “I could have done a better job.”
“You could have done A work,” Farrar replied. “You could have done Something.”
Shroyer’s testimony on Thursday followed two days of interrogation of Daria Karpova, an Infowars producer who repeatedly swerved, claimed ignorance and rambled, until at one point District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble interrupted her with a pointed instruction: “You need to focus on the question you’re being asked, not just what you want to say.
In his opening statement Tuesday for plaintiffs, attorney Mark Bankston exposed the lies that Jones and his conspiracy website Infowars spread about the shooting.
“Jones told his audience that [Barack] Obama staged Sandy Hook – not that Obama ordered the killing of these children, but that there were never any children at all,” Bankston said. “Jones said the school was fake, the parents liars, the actors paid. The funerals are fake, their tears are fake.
Jones already lost his case in September after Gamble entered a default judgment against Jones for failing to provide court-ordered documents related to the case.
Bankston on Tuesday asked a jury to award Heslin and Lewis $150 million in damages.
Jones repeatedly walked in and out of the courtroom on Thursday, flanked by four private bodyguards.
Jones had previously told the court that he would not be able to attend the trial due to a health issue, but Farrar noted that he was constantly on the air throughout the week, complaining of the trial and urging viewers to buy more supplements. Jones smoked cigarettes outside the courthouse during breaks.
Gamble also warned Jones and Shroyer on Thursday that they should not discuss the case outside of the courtroom after going to Infowars to talk about the lawsuit.
Lawyer Andino Reynal, who represents Jones, was seen give a middle finger in Bankston at the end of court on Wednesday. He apologized to the court on Thursday but was reprimanded again later in the day for claiming he was unaware his clients could not discuss the matter outside of court.
“Because you’re just a brand new lawyer, aren’t you?” Gamble fired back. “Enough with the ‘Aw shucks, I don’t know the court rules.'”
The Huffington Gt