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NPR News

Alex Jones again fails to show up for a deposition in the Sandy Hook case against him

Alex Jones, host of Infowars, is pictured on Capitol Hill in Washington in September 2018. Jones defied a Connecticut judge's order to show up for a deposition in Texas on Thursday in a case brought by relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Jose Luis Magana
/
AP
Alex Jones, host of Infowars, is pictured on Capitol Hill in Washington in September 2018. Jones defied a Connecticut judge's order to show up for a deposition in Texas on Thursday in a case brought by relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Infowars host Alex Jones on Thursday defied a Connecticut judge's order to show up for a deposition in Texas in a case brought by relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting who sued Jones for calling the massacre a hoax, according to the families' lawyer.

It was the second straight day that Jones did not appear for the deposition in Austin, which was scheduled to be held Wednesday and Thursday. It wasn't immediately clear what penalties he may face.

Jones' lawyer, Norman Pattis, said Thursday that Jones was following his doctor's guidance to not attend court proceedings because of undisclosed medical conditions.

"Mr. Jones was given conflicting imperatives: his physician told him to stay home; a judge told him to go to a deposition," Pattis wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "He is following his doctor's advice. I suspect most people sensible would do as Mr. Jones has done."

But Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis on Wednesday denied Pattis' request to delay the proceeding and ordered Jones to appear Thursday. Bellis wrote in a ruling that letters from Jones' doctors indicate his medical conditions aren't serious enough to prevent him from attending the deposition. Bellis noted Jones wasn't hospitalized and appeared on his web show earlier this week.
Bellis warned Jones that he would be in contempt of her order if he failed to show Thursday, and said the families' lawyers could request sanctions against him and try to subpoena him in Texas.

Bellis found Jones liable for damages in November. A trial on how much he should pay the families is set to begin in August.

Twenty first graders and six educators were killed in the 2012 shooting. The families of eight of the victims and an FBI agent who responded to school sued Jones, Infowars and others, saying they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones' followers because of the hoax conspiracy. Jones has since said he believes the shooting did occur.

Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, said Jones did not show up for the deposition Thursday. He did not immediately say what the families' next legal steps were. He previously said the families would seek a subpoena to compel Jones to appear at his deposition.

Also Wednesday, Bellis denied the families' request to have Jones arrested and brought to the deposition if he failed to appear Thursday.

Pattis filed new court documents Wednesday that included letters from two doctors who said they advised Jones not to attend the deposition because of his medical conditions. Pattis wrote Jones' doctor was so alarmed by his observations of Jones on Monday that he advised him to go to an emergency room or call 911. Jones refused and his doctor advised him to stay home, Pattis said.

On Tuesday, however, Jones broadcasted his daily website show at the Infowars studio in Austin, his lawyers said. He did not appear in person on the show Wednesday, but he provided commentary by phone including pre-recorded segments for portions of the program.

Jones underwent an exam by another doctor and medical testing Wednesday, Pattis said. The doctor, Amy Offutt, wrote in a letter that she examined Jones for "acute medical issues that were time-sensitive and potentially serious" and lab tests were pending.

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