In a principally slow-burning then all of a sudden explosive day of testimony, the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones took the stand on Thursday in a trial that can decide how a lot he and his firm should pay in damages to folks he defamed after the 2012 capturing at Sandy Hook Elementary College.
Even earlier than Mr. Jones erupted in a rant within the last hour, the day’s proceedings in a Connecticut courtroom had been contentious and incessantly interrupted. The stoppages had been so widespread that Choose Barbara Bellis advised jurors they might get their fill of train after being requested repeatedly to go away the courtroom in order that she might converse privately with the legal professionals.
Now in its second week, the trial stems from a case introduced by eight households and an F.B.I. agent who responded to the assault in 2012. They sued Mr. Jones after being subjected to years of harassment and threats from individuals who believed the Infowars fabulist’s claims that the bloodbath was a hoax and that the family members of the 20 first graders and 6 educators who died had been “disaster actors.”
Right here’s what to learn about Thursday’s testimony:
Testimony relating forbidden matters saved forcing the choose to take away the jury.
Choose Bellis incessantly stopped the proceedings to assessment with Mr. Jones and legal professionals for either side what they might and couldn’t say.
Earlier than Mr. Jones took the stand, the choose had prohibited all events from discussing a number of matters, in hopes of avoiding “unpleasantness,” she stated. These hands-off points included the First Modification, the quantity of the jury’s award in the same case towards Mr. Jones final month and Mr. Jones’s chapter submitting for Infowars’ guardian firm.
A ban on political statements — put in place partly to forestall Mr. Jones from claiming that the case was a plot by his enemies to silence him — was a frequent sticking level. Mr. Jones cited the prohibition a number of occasions to not reply questions, and his lawyer used it to boost objections.
When Chris Mattei, a lawyer for the households, requested Mr. Jones whether or not his credibility along with his viewers was an important attribute, Mr. Jones first declined to reply after which stated that his precedence was “crushing globalists.”
After Mr. Mattei used those self same phrases, Norm Pattis, Mr. Jones’s lawyer, objected, saying that the response would open the door for the households to inject politics into the trial.
Smoldering gripes and flare-ups preceded an eruption in the previous few minutes of testimony.
From the second he took the stand, Mr. Jones’s testimony was a combative affair.
Mr. Jones at occasions struggled to comply with the choose’s guidelines, breaking off into forbidden matters and infrequently talking over his personal lawyer’s objections.
Mr. Jones described the trial as “a deep state state of affairs,” although he conceded after some questioning that the Federal Bureau of Investigation wasn’t “formally” suing him. At one level, he mockingly characterised Mr. Mattei’s argument as “conservatives who put up stickers are unhealthy” and “all of us have to go to jail.”
Throughout a sidebar with the choose, Mr. Jones’s lawyer alluded to his hostile way of thinking: “He thinks this trial displays the efforts of tyrants to silence him together with George Soros, Hillary Clinton.”
Then, shortly after Mr. Mattei stated he would wish solely about 20 minutes to complete his questioning, the session turned chaotic.
Mr. Mattei performed a video of a tearful assertion from a father of one of many murdered college students and stated that Mr. Jones had put a “goal” on him and different dad and mom. Mr. Jones erupted, saying that “liberals” like Mr. Mattei are “unbelievable, you turn on feelings on and off once you need, you’re ambulance chasing.”
Mr. Mattei chided Mr. Jones, reminding him that individuals within the courtroom had misplaced relations.
“Is that this a battle session? Are we in China? I’ve already stated I’m sorry, and I’m completed saying I’m sorry,” Mr. Jones responded, as his lawyer shouted objections.
Lastly, Choose Bellis rebuked Mr. Jones. “This isn’t a press convention, this isn’t your present,” she stated. “You must respect the method.”
After the jury was excused for the day, Choose Bellis threatened Mr. Jones and his lawyer with a contempt listening to if the outbursts recurred within the trial.
Video clips countered Mr. Jones’s makes an attempt to distance himself from previous feedback and outdated collaborators.
All through the day, Mr. Jones stated he couldn’t recall particular issues he had stated concerning the Sandy Hook capturing and demurred when requested about former associates. Mr. Mattei countered with footage from the “Alex Jones Present,” on which he unfold lies concerning the 2012 capturing and mocked the lawsuits towards him.
Mr. Jones stated he couldn’t recall accusing dad and mom of “pretend crying” earlier than Mr. Mattei performed footage of him doing simply that and calling the capturing as “phony as a $3 invoice.”
He additionally denied understanding Matthew Mills, who interrupted a Tremendous Bowl postgame interview in 2014 and later disrupted a memorial run deliberate by the household of a Sandy Hook sufferer. A video was then performed of Mr. Jones interviewing Mr. Mills, praising him as a “stand-up man” and providing to rent him.
Mr. Jones couldn’t bear in mind whether or not he recommended, on air, individuals who plastered Infowars stickers on a road sign up entrance of the courthouse. Mr. Mattei then performed a clip from a current episode of the host telling these folks “we commend you.”
And he stated he couldn’t recollect particulars regarding Dan Bidondi, a contract cameraman who labored for Infowars and made a number of journeys to Newtown, residence to the Sandy Hook college, to confront residents and survivors. In keeping with one recording performed in court docket, Mr. Jones described sending the cameraman on project as akin to “releasing the Kraken.”
Mr. Jones, who earlier in his testimony had stated he had a “fairly good reminiscence,” answered one query about Mr. Bidondi by saying, “I don’t bear in mind what occurred two weeks in the past on my present.”
Mr. Jones’s enterprise mannequin was an necessary focus.
Mr. Mattei explored how Mr. Jones made cash, together with by promoting food regimen dietary supplements and different merchandise.
It’s a vital ingredient of the case: Final 12 months, Mr. Jones was discovered responsible for violating the Connecticut Unfair Commerce Practices Act by promoting merchandise towards false claims about Sandy Hook. In Connecticut, there isn’t any cap on punitive damages awarded in instances involving that regulation.
Mr. Mattei instructed that Mr. Jones — whose Infowars web site promoted the trial towards him as a “Kangaroo Courtroom” — was utilizing the trial as a advertising and marketing alternative to his followers.
Likely GOP primary voters share who had best Republican debate performance: Poll
Likely Republican voters think Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had the best performance in the second Republican debate, according to a new poll.
The poll was conducted by 538/Washington Post/Ispos and asked 2,262 likely voters in the Republican primary to grade each candidate’s performance during the debate, which was hosted on Wednesday night by FOX Business in Simi Valley, California.
Prior to the debate, pollsters asked likely GOP primary voters how they thought each candidate would perform. Overall, voters thought Vivek Ramaswamy would finish ahead of the rest, closely followed by DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
When polled following the debate, 33% of respondents thought DeSantis performed the best during the debate, followed by Haley at 18% and Ramaswamy at 15%.
WATCH THE FULL SECOND REPUBLICAN PRIMARY DEBATE
24% of people polled thought former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie performed the worst and 20% thought the same of former Vice President Mike Pence. 11% of voters thought North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum performed the worst, and 10% thought the same of Ramaswamy.
However, support among the field was largely unchanged after the debate.
Support for DeSantis increased from 51.0% to 51.9%, Haley’s went from 34.0% to 36.4%, and Scott’s went from 24.7% to 26.5%. In the poll, support for candidates is based on the percentage of polled voters considering voting for each individual.
DESANTIS SUGGESTS ONE-ON-ONE DEBATE WITH TRUMP: ‘YOU OWE IT TO THE VOTERS’
Ramaswamy slightly lost support, going from 27.2% to 28.1% as well as Pence, going from 23.4% to 24.2%.
Support for Former President Donald Trump went from 63.8% to 63.9%.
The poll also asked likely Republican primary voters what issues are most important in determining their primary vote, given the option to select up to 20 issues.
“Getting inflation or increased costs under control” was considered the most important issue to 55% of voters, “Controlling immigration” was considered a priority for 40% of voters, and “Ability to beat Joe Biden” was a priority for 24% of voters.
GOP candidates outlined sweeping anti-trans agenda at presidential debate
Two Republican presidential candidates, former Vice President Mike Pence and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, vowed at Wednesday night’s debate in Simi Valley to ban gender-affirming care — and not just for trans kids, but also for adults.
None of the other five Republicans onstage criticized Pence and Ramaswamy’s proposals, which would amount to a major federal intervention in American adults’ ability to work with their doctors to decide what medical treatments are appropriate for themselves and their children.
The two candidates’ rhetoric is an indication of how far the Republican Party’s consensus on trans rights has moved in recent years. After the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, much of the national conversation around LGBTQ+ rights shifted to focus on transgender rights.
In 2016, a debate took shape over the so-called “bathroom bill” in North Carolina, which required transgender people to use public bathrooms that matched the sex assigned to them at birth. The law was eventually repealed after widespread backlash.
But since then, social conservatives have whipped up outrage and concern about gender-affirming care for trans kids. In a 2021 Fox News poll, 62% of Republicans said they saw “overly accommodating” transgender policies in schools as a major problem.
When the same question was posed to voters in April, that number had climbed to 71% of Republicans — even as only 2% of Republicans identified “wokeness/transgender issues” as the most important issue facing the country. Less than 1% of Americans identify as transgender.
In the years since the repeal of the bathroom bill, North Carolina and 21 other states have banned gender-affirming care for kids, according to Human Rights Watch — and some states, such as Oklahoma, Texas and South Carolina, have considered banning it for transgender adults. Many of the laws are entangled in legal battles.
The discussion at Wednesday night’s debate was triggered by a question that moderator and FOX News host Dana Perino posed to Ramaswamy about whether parents should be notified if their kids change their gender identity at school.
“Students … have the ability to change their identity without parental notification,” Perino said, noting that fellow candidate Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, had vowed to pass a law “protecting parental rights.”
“Would you do the same?” she asked.
But rather than responding to the question, Ramaswamy took aim at transgender rights more broadly.
“I have to be very clear about this: transgenderism, especially in kids, is a mental health disorder,” he said, adding, “Parents have the right to know.”
“It is not compassionate to affirm a kid’s confusion. That is not compassion; that is cruelty,” Ramaswamy said, sharing an anecdote of two people who regretted getting double mastectomies and a hysterectomy. If he becomes president, he said, he will “ban genital mutilation or chemical castration.”
Although some transgender people opt for gender-affirming medical care, many never use medication or surgery to transition. Studies have shown that few choose to detransition, or reverse the process and go back to the sex they were assigned at birth.
Former Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on Ramaswamy’s proposal.
“We’re going to pass a federal ban on transgender chemical or surgical surgery anywhere in the country,” Pence said. “We’ve got to protect our kids from this radical gender ideology agenda.”
Ramaswamy’s and Pence’s statements indicate they’d go further than former President Trump.
The frontrunner in GOP polls has said he would ban facilities that provide gender-affirming care from receiving federal funding. But since most hospitals and major medical centers depend at least in part on funds from Medicare, Medicaid or federal health and science agencies, Trump’s proposal would likely dramatically reduce access to gender-affirming care nationwide.
An April poll by NBC indicated that 79% of Republicans think the nation has “gone too far” in accepting transgender people, compared with 19% of Democrats and 50% of independent voters. In a similar poll by the Pew Research Center, 66% of Republicans said the country has has gone too far in accepting transgender people, while roughly 6 in 10 Democrats said society hasn’t gone far enough.
“No one should have their very right to exist debated on a national stage,” Ash Orr, National Center for Transgender Equality spokesperson, said in a statement Thursday. “What we saw last night was a group of extremist politicians repeating the same tired rhetoric about transgender people, unsupported by actual facts.”
“The truth is that transgender youth know who they are and deserve to be accepted, loved, and supported,” Orr added. “Research shows that the onslaught of rhetoric against our community is directly harming the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of our community.”
Orr said that political leaders should instead focus on other issues facing youth, such as underfunding of education, lack of teacher support and school shootings.
In California, several school districts have said they will notify parents if their child starts identifying differently than the gender they were assigned at birth.
In July, Chino Valley Unified School District in San Bernardino County became the first district in the state to adopt a parental notification policy, followed quickly by Murrieta Valley Unified, Temecula Valley Unified, Rocklin Unified, Anderson Union High School District and Orange Unified.
Last week, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have asked judges in custody hearings to consider a parent’s support for their child’s gender identity.
Video: Biden Says MAGA Movement Rejects Basic Beliefs of Democracy
new video loaded: Biden Says MAGA Movement Rejects Basic Beliefs of Democracy
Biden Says MAGA Movement Rejects Basic Beliefs of Democracy
President Biden delivered a blistering and direct attack on former President Donald J. Trump during a visit to Arizona.
There’s something dangerous happening in America now. There’s an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs in our democracy — the MAGA movement. Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans adhere to the MAGA extremist ideology. I know because I’ve been able to work with Republicans my whole career. But there’s no question that today’s Republican Party is driven and intimidated by MAGA Republican extremists. Their extreme agenda, if carried out, would fundamentally alter the institutions of American democracy as we know it. My friends, they’re not hiding their attacks. They’re openly promoting them. Attacking the free press as the enemy of the people. Attacking the rule of law as an impediment. Fomenting voter suppression and election subversion. Did you ever think we’d be having debates at your stage of your careers where banning books, banning books and burying history. Extremists in Congress more determined to shut down the government, to burn the place down than to let the people’s business be done.
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