Alex Jones sanctioned by court after child porn dispute with Sandy Hook lawyers

By Jason Silverstein

/ CBS News

A Connecticut judge on Tuesday sanctioned Infowars founder Alex Jones after he threatened one of the attorneys representing families of Sandy Hook shooting victims. Jones lashed out after the families' lawyers alleged that Jones sent them child porn. Jones is being sued by the families for spreading the false conspiracy theory that the shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, is a hoax.

Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis said Jones crossed a line by personally targeting one of the Sandy Hook families' attorneys in a segment on his web show about the allegations, according CBS Hartford affiliate WFSB. As part of the sanction, Jones lost a special motion to dismiss the case, and he'll be on the hook for plaintiff attorney fees related to the child porn investigation.

In a motion filed in court Monday, the families' attorneys said that when a consultant was reviewing documents Jones turned over for the case, they found "an image that appeared to be child pornography." They immediately contacted counsel, who then went to the FBI.

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The FBI found "numerous additional illegal images" in the documents, which had apparently been sent to Infowars email addresses.

"It is worth noting that if the Jones Defendants had engaged in even minimal due diligence and actually reviewed the materials before production, they would have found the images themselves," the statement says. "Because the Jones Defendants did not do that, they transmitted images to the plaintiffs that if they were knowingly possessed is a serious federal crime."

No charges have been announced against Jones for the child porn, and it's unclear if he was aware of the images that someone had emailed to Infowars. Jones claims they were never opened, WFSB reports.

Jones talked about the child porn images last week on his program, "The Alex Jones Show" — but he framed it as a conspiracy against him by the Sandy Hook lawyers. He denied any involvement and threatened the attorneys.

"You're trying to set me up with child porn, I'll get your ass," Jones said in one segment, which is noted in the court records. "One million dollars, you little gang members. One million dollars to put your head on a pike. One million dollars, b****. I'm going to get your ass, you understand me now?"

Jones also called out Chris Mattei, one of the attorneys representing the families, by name. He showed a picture of Mattei and pounded it with his fist.

"Total war! You want it, you got it!" Jones said about Mattei. "I'm not into kids like your Democratic Party, you c***suckers! So get ready!"

Jones said in a later broadcast that he wasn't claiming the Sandy Hook lawyers set him up, and said he was "unhinged" when he issued his threats. "Whoever sent this, for whatever reason, this shows the escalation and the insanity of all of this," Jones said.

One of Jones' lawyers, Norman Pattis, appeared on an Infowars show and denied the allegations. He said the FBI concluded after a two-week inquiry "that no one here has any guilty knowledge of those emails, indeed there is no reason to suspect anybody even knew they were here."

The FBI hasn't commented on the child porn allegation.

In court Tuesday, Mattei said Jones "really threatened the integrity of the judicial proceedings here" with his conduct.

Jones is facing two defamation suits — one in Connecticut and another in Texas — after claiming for years that the Sandy Hook massacre was fake. WFSB reports a trial date for the Connecticut case is set for November of 2020. In a deposition released in March, Jones said "a form of psychosis" made him believe that "everything was staged, even though I'm now learning a lot of times things aren't staged."

But Jones has continued spreading conspiracy theories related to Sandy Hook, recently claiming without evidence that Jeremy Richman — the father of a 6-year-old Sandy Hook victim, who killed himself in March — may have been murdered to build a case against Jones.

This week Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old Noah was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, won a separate defamation suit against the authors of a book called "Nobody Died at Sandy Hook." The principal officer for its publisher apologized.

First published on June 18, 2019 / 6:27 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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