Lawyers for relatives of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims asked a Connecticut judge again Friday to order the arrest of Infowars host Alex Jones, after he defied a court order to attend a deposition as part of a lawsuit over his calling the massacre a hoax.
Jones missed both days of a scheduled deposition Wednesday and Thursday in Austin, Texas, home to Jones and Infowars. He cited a health problem that included vertigo and revealed Friday that it was a sinus infection. After he didn’t show up Wednesday on the advice of his doctors, Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis ordered him to appear Thursday, noting he wasn’t hospitalized and had appeared in-person on his show Tuesday.
Bellis did not immediately rule on the new arrest request. She rejected a similar motion by the families’ lawyer seeking an arrest order after Jones failed to appear Wednesday. She has set a hearing by video conference for Wednesday next week.
The families’ lawyers filed a motion late Friday afternoon requesting that Jones be arrested and detained until he sits for a deposition, be fined $25,000 to $50,000 a day until he completes the questioning, be found in contempt of court and to pay their expenses for traveling to Austin this week.
“The plaintiffs subjected themselves to hours and hours of painful questioning by Mr. Jones’s lawyers — and Mr. Jones plays sick when it is his turn to tell the truth under oath,” Alinor Sterling, one of the families’ lawyers, wrote in the motion.
Jones’ lawyer, Norman Pattis, called the request “an unprecedented overreach” and raised concerns about due process, in an email to The Associated Press.
Earlier Friday, Jones said on his website show that it was “absolutely preposterous” the families’ lawyers were trying to have him arrested for missing a deposition because of illness. He said the families’ lawyers had delayed depositions in the case several times and he didn’t complain.
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In November, Bellis found Jones liable for damages, and his testimony is now being sought in a deposition ahead of a trial later this year to determine how much he should pay the families.
Twenty first graders and six educators were killed in the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The families of eight of the victims and an FBI agent who responded to school sued Jones, Infowars and others in Connecticut, saying they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers because of the hoax conspiracy promoted on the show. Jones has since said he believes the shooting did occur.
Jones also was found liable for damages in similar lawsuits filed in Texas by relatives of Sandy Hook victims, and also faces trial later this year.
Jones returned to the Infowars studio on Friday for the first time since Tuesday and disclosed on the show that medical testing showed he had a sinus infection. He said he had experienced vertigo, and his doctors initially thought it was a serious heart problem and advised him to stay home and not go to the deposition.