rainn.png
Thursday February 2nd, 2023 3:58AM

Infowars sales spiked as Jones talked about Sandy Hook

By The Associated Press

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Infowars' revenues and website viewership spiked around the time of one of Alex Jones' shows in 2014 when he talked about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting being a hoax, according to documents shown to a jury Thursday.

Jones and his Free Speech Systems company are on trial in Connecticut in a lawsuit brought by Sandy Hook families over his spreading the hoax lies. Jones has already been found liable for damages to the families, and the six-member jury will be deciding how much he and his company should pay the families.

The shooting in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, killed 20 first- graders and six educators.

Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the families, showed an internal Infowars documents detailing the revenue and website-visit spikes around the time of an article on Sept. 24, 2014, on the Infowars website that said no one died at Sandy Hook. The next day, Jones talked about the article on his show.

Revenues to the Infowars online store, which sells nutritional supplements, clothing and other items, increased from $48,000 on Sept. 24 to more than $230,000 on Sept. 25, according to the documents. Total user sessions on the Infowars website, meanwhile, increased from about 543,000 on Sept. 23 to about 1 million on Sept. 24, the documents showed.

The data was part of the families' case claiming Jones spread lies about the shooting and profited from them, while causing emotional distress to the families. An FBI agent who responded to the school shooting and relatives of eight children and adults killed in the massacre are part of the lawsuit against Jones.

Last month, a jury in Texas awarded the parents of another slain Sandy Hook child nearly $50 million in a similar lawsuit against Jones and his company.

Mattei on Thursday questioned Brittany Paz, a Connecticut lawyer hired by Jones to testify about his companies, about the financial and website analytics documents. He also asked her about company emails and videos from Infowars that show Jones and a guest claiming the massacre was staged.

Mattei, quoting Jones, said: “'Folks, they staged Aurora, they staged Sandy Hook, the evidence is overwhelming.’ Do you remember that?”

“I do remember that, yes,” Paz replied.

On Wednesday, Paz acknowledged that Jones' show, website and social media platforms spread falsehoods about the school shooting.

Paz also said Jones did not check the qualifications of a guest on his show in 2014 —- a conspiracy theorist who claimed to be a school security expert who had investigating the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado — as Jones boasted of his credentials.

Website traffic data reports run by Infowars employees and presented at the trial also show Jones' audience ballooned in the years after the shooting. By 2016, his show aired on 150 affiliate radio stations, and the Infowars website got 40 million page views a month.

Paz testified that she believes Jones and his companies have made at least $100 million in the decade since the massacre and Jones is now worth millions of dollars. But she could not answer several questions about Jones' businesses by Mattei, saying she had not received some documents from the companies and could not recall other information.

Mattei showed Paz internal Infowars emails between employees sharing Google Analytics data. Paz testified Wednesday that she was told by Infowars employees that they didn’t use Google Analytics regularly to track website viewing data. After showing her the emails, Mattei asked if it was still her testimony that Infowars didn’t regularly use Google Analytics.

“I don’t know at this point," she said.

The families' lawsuit claims that Jones trafficked in lies to increase his audience and sales of the nutritional supplements, clothing and other merchandise he sells on the Infowars website and hawks on his web show. He and guests on his show said the shooting was staged with crisis actors as part of gun control efforts.

Jones, however, now says he believes the shooting happened, but he insists his comments were protected by free speech rights, which he cannot argue at trial because he has already been found liable for damages.

Judges in the Connecticut and Texas cases found Jones liable without trials, as penalties for what they called his repeated failures to turn over documents to the families' lawyers.

On his Infowars show Thursday, Jones called the proceedings in Connecticut “a show trial” and said he expects to be sanctioned by Judge Barbara Bellis when he shows up in the courtroom next week.

“She now has to carry out this fraud,” he said. “But across the legal community, people are just saying, ’My God, this is something worthy of Venezuela. This is unbelievable.’”

The families say the emotional and psychological harm was profound and persistent. Relatives say they were subjected to social media harassment, death threats, strangers videotaping them and their children, and the surreal pain of being told that they were faking their loss.

Jones' lawyer, Norman Pattis, said in his opening statement Tuesday that any damages should be minimal and claimed the families were exaggerating the harm they say they have suffered.

“At what point do we regard him as a crank on the village green, a person we can walk away from if we choose?” Pattis asked.

___

Find AP’s full coverage of the Alex Jones trial at: https://apnews.com/hub/alex-jones

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden: Tentative railway labor deal reached, averting strike
Rail companies and their workers reached a tentative agreement to avert a nationwide strike that could have shut down the nation’s freight trains and devastated the economy less than two months before the midterm elections
2:19PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Griner, Whelan families to meet Biden amid US-Russia talks
The White House says President Joe Biden plans to meet at the White House on Friday with the families of WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, both of whom remain jailed in Russia
2:17PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Rioter who wore 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt gets jail term
A Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol while wearing an antisemitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt over a Nazi-themed shirt has been sentenced to 75 days of imprisonment
2:07PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Alabama sidesteps compensation for survivor of '63 KKK blast
Sarah Collins Rudolph lost an eye and has pieces of glass inside her body from a Ku Klux Klan bombing that killed her sister and three other Black girls inside an Alabama church 59 years ago
1:44PM ( 43 minutes ago )
London mourners brave 9-hour wait to say goodbye to queen
Thousands of mourners are waiting for up to nine hours in line to file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as she lays in state at Parliament’s Westminster Hall
1:30PM ( 56 minutes ago )
US warns monkeypox could mutate to resist antiviral drug
U.S. health officials are warning doctors against overusing the lone drug available to treat monkeypox
1:27PM ( 59 minutes ago )
AP National News
California wildfire 'looking a whole heck of a lot better'
Firefighters again prevented flames from entering a Northern California mountain town and reported major progress against the week-old blaze that’s become the largest in the state so far this year
12:10PM ( 2 hours ago )
After cancellation, Dems look to reduce future student debt
House Democrats are proposing new legislation that would increase federal student aid, lower interest rates on loans and take other steps to make college more affordable
11:38AM ( 2 hours ago )
Pastor-led group seeks missing migrants in border desert
This summer has been especially lethal for migrants crossing the US-Mexican border illegally
11:11AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
EU lawmakers declare that Hungary is no longer a democracy
European Union lawmakers have declared that Hungary has become “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” under the leadership of its nationalist government
1:43PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Ukraine's Zelenskyy courts allies to maintain war momentum
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is working to add political momentum to Ukraine’s recent military gains against Russia
12:26PM ( 2 hours ago )
Concerns grow as Nigeria's inflation surges to 17-year high
Nigeria’s consumer inflation surged to 20.5% in August, its statistics agency said Thursday, signalling more hardship for citizens and businesses in Africa’s largest economy
12:14PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Patagonia founder gives company away to environmental trusts
The founder of outdoor gear company Patagonia, long known for environmental activism, says the company is transferring all of the its voting shares into a trust “dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.”
10:49AM ( 3 hours ago )
Amtrak says it's working quickly to restore canceled trains
Amtrak says it is working to quickly restore canceled trains after President Joe Biden announced that a tentative railway labor agreement has been reached
8:55AM ( 5 hours ago )
EU lawmakers assail Hungary for attacking democratic values
European Union lawmakers say Hungary’s nationalist government is deliberately trying to undermine the bloc’s democratic values
8:25AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Biden: Tentative railway labor deal reached, averting strike
Rail companies and their workers reached a tentative agreement to avert a nationwide strike that could have shut down the nation’s freight trains and devastated the economy less than two months before the midterm elections
2:19PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Griner, Whelan families to meet Biden amid US-Russia talks
The White House says President Joe Biden plans to meet at the White House on Friday with the families of WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, both of whom remain jailed in Russia
2:17PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Rioter who wore 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt gets jail term
A Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol while wearing an antisemitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt over a Nazi-themed shirt has been sentenced to 75 days of imprisonment
2:07PM ( 21 minutes ago )
McIlroy shines at Italian Open on 2023 Ryder Cup course
Rory McIlroy’s first competitive round on next year’s Ryder Cup course was a success
1:58PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Ukraine's leader courts allies as Russia strikes hometown
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is working to add political momentum to Ukraine’s recent military gains against Russia
1:56PM ( 32 minutes ago )