No, you don’t have a First Amendment right to slander or libel people. Suggesting that the parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook made up their story is about as defamatory as it gets. Jones’ attorneys stonewalled at every stage of the trial. The alternative media scribes suggesting that the verdict somehow silences Jones don’t know what they’re talking about. He can say whatever he wants, he will just have to be more careful in the future not to utter or print defamatory statements. The almost $1 billion in damages in the Connecticut trial is excessive, and it may get reduced on appeal. If not, Jones is bankrupt and the debt may not be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for him. How much sympathy did he have for the parents he libeled? Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org gets it right.
Whatever one might think about Alex Jones, it’s difficult for me to understand how anyone can question the rightfulness of the multimillion damage awards that juries in Connecticut and Texas recently assessed against him. In my opinion, Jones got exactly what he deserved.
For limited-government libertarians, a proper role of government is to provide a judicial forum in which people can resolve their legal disputes. If someone commits a wrong — a “tort” in legal language — against another person, the latter has the right to file suit against the former for damages.
We see this all the time, for example, in automobile crashes, where one person’s negligence has caused the accident. The victim has the right to sue the driver whose negligence caused the crash and recover damages.
If a tort is intentional — such as murder or rape — the victim has the right to sue for both compensatory damages and punitive damages. The compensatory damages represent actual damages suffered by the victim, such as medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering. The punitive damages represent an intent to punish the malefactor by inflicting additional damages on him.
Jones was certainly guilty of libel, but, a billion-dollar judgment?? Come on!!
Dude, you think he’s guilty of libel? Have you lost your mind, Robert? Do you not see that this was a show “trial?” Wake up, my man, you’re asleep!
Legally, if I write that someone was essentially a crisis actor and staged the death of his or her own child, how is that not libel? The legal definition of libel is: “Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.”
Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School
It’s clearly injurious and clearly libel. Truth is a defense, but Jones offered no proof. In a trial parties must respond to discovery requests or show cause and obtain a ruling from the judge that excuses this duty. As the article states, Jones’ attorneys failed to respond to requests for documents and either failed to request or failed to receive an exemption. Jones failed to show for a deposition. If you don’t play by the rules of pretrial discovery you may not get a trial, which with the default judgments Jones did not get. These were not “show trials” because there were no trials. That left him at the tender mercies of juries in Texas and Connecticut for assessing damages, and the Connecticut jury raked him over the coals. As I said in my introduction, the amount may ultimately be reduced on appeal. Jones probably had the opportunity to settle for a small fraction of that award.
Jones has tried to defend himself in the court of public opinion with defenses he wouldn’t make in the courtroom. He has said that he was merely exercising his First Amendment rights. The First Amendment, standing alone, has never been a defense to defamation, although there is obviously a tension between the two. He said he was merely repeating internet scuttlebutt. I have not seen how he framed such repetition, but repeating what could clearly be a defamatory statement by someone else opens the repeater to liability for the defamation as well, absent words like “alleged” or “purported.”
I think Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are far more deserving Bill of Rights martyrs than Alex Jones.
Did you not even follow what transpired in the the “trial?” He WASN’T PERMITTED to offer any “proof.” He wasn’t permitted to defend himself IN ANY WAY!
Truth is a defense to libel, slander and defamation claims. Alex Jones wasn’t permitted to defend himself; the “trials” (in both CT and TX) were merely hearings for damages. His “guilt” was already established by the radical plaintiffs’ attorneys when they asked for discovery as to his assets, net worth, etc., which he provided. They then proceeded to claim he was “withholding evidence” of his assets, and the radical left-wing judges used this as an excuse to enter DEFAULT JUDGMENTS against him.
Therefore, these cases were never even tried on the facts – much like the Trump election fraud cases were never tried on the facts (they were dismissed on procedural grounds and the attorneys who attempted to present them were persecuted and/or disbarred).
No factual defense evidence to refute the plaintiffs’ defamation claims was permitted to be entered into the record. No defense witnesses who could testify and present evidence that Robbie Parker or anyone else was a crisis actor was allowed. And that’s how these sham show trials were designed, to give these people the story and ammo they needed to obtain a ridiculous “judgment” in order to discredit Alex Jones and attempt to silence one of the loudest, most popular dissenting voices against the NWO.
Please, Robert – next time, do some research and gain some understanding of what you’re going to write about and repost beforehand.
A few questions:
1. Did the plaintiffs make out a claim that if believed by a reasonable trier of fact would establish defamation?
2. Do parties to a lawsuit have a duty to comply with discovery requests, including a request for a deposition, absent a ruling from either the trial judge or an appellate judge that the request is illegitimate for some reason?
3. Wouldn’t evidence of a defendant’s enrichment and/or enhanced notoriety in a civil or criminal action go to that defendant’s state of mind and motive?
4. Wouldn’t failure to turn over such evidence deny the plaintiffs evidence relevant to their case?
5. Doesn’t the trial judge have the authority to order sanctions, up to and including a default judgment, for failure to comply with legitimate discovery requests?
6. If such a default judgment is entered, doesn’t that by definition preclude the party against whom the judgment was entered from entering any part of his or her case, including alleged facts, legal theories, or affirmative defenses?
I would say Jones’ best case is against his own attorneys, for legal malpractice. He was poorly advised and poorly served.
1. No, they did not.
2. Yes, they do. And Alex Jones complied. However, the plaintiffs and court refused to acknowledge compliance because the whole point of these show trials was to obtain default judgments so no evidence and witness testimony could be entered into the record by Jones that could establish the truth of his statements.
3. The financial statements Jones submitted in discovery showed that there was no “financial benefit” that could be solely traced to his coverage of the Sandy Hook matter.
4. Yes, it would. However, Jones complied with the discovery request and the plaintiffs and judges refused to acknowledge his compliance because of what I detailed in (2) above.
5. Yes, a judge does have such authority. However, Jones complied. Once again, see (2) and (4) above.
6. Yes. But the default judgments entered in these cases were illegitimate.
Robert, I agree with you on 99.9% of the issues, but you’re way off base on the Alex Jones issue and I get the sense that it stems from your personal dislike of him – which means your position is based on your feelings and emotions, not “Straight Line Logic.”
I would advise you to reflect on how these “default judgments,” if they’re allowed to stand on appeal, have the potential to affect YOU in the future, based on the content you publish on your own website, which dissents from the mainstream media narratives.
You should really think long and hard about that, because this is no longer a mere theoretical matter, it’s now REAL.
We’re going to have to agree to disagree on #1 because I think it was clearly defamatory. The news accounts I’ve read said he refused to supply the information on financial benefit. It wouldn’t be the first time news accounts are wrong, so I’ll leave 2 and 4 tossups. Similarly on #3, the news accounts said he refused to submit information on the benefit to Infowars. Based on your research, you have your answers, and I can’t say you are categorically wrong. If you are aware of a good, unbiased account of the trials, send it along and I’ll take a look.
My position on the matter does not stem in any way from personal feelings about Alex Jones, about whom I’m indifferent. When I first started blogging, I would look at Inforwars stories. They were rife with reckless reporting and unsupported assertions, often constructed around one or two known facts. I agree with you that as a publisher and writer, I have to be well aware of developments in the law concerning defamation specifically, and journalism in general. It’s why I post so many articles on Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and other whistleblowers who have been persecuted for telling the truth. When I post my own articles I am careful what I say and how I say it. Other writers that I post have to meet the same standards I set for myself (they also have to be reasonably well-written). Infowars didn’t make the cut, so I’ve had nothing to do with it or Alex Jones for many years. I regard the government’s treatment of Assange and Snowden, among others, as far more of a threat to me as a blogger and publisher than the verdicts and damage awards levied against Jones.
Jacob G. Hornberger has met my standards and I respect his writing. One thing that bothered me in the alternative media’s coverage of the Jones case was my inability to find one good account of the actual legal proceedings and rulings, just blanket assertions that Jones had been railroaded. Also ridiculous assertions such as the First Amendment is an absolute bar to libel claims. I knew the gist of the alleged libelous writings, they matched Hornberger’s summary, and they still seem clearly libelous to me, as Hornberger also concluded. Hornberger, an attorney himself, actually dealt with the substance of the libel claim and the court’s ruling on the financial and analytics data. If the trial courts were wrong Jones will have his shot on appeal, but I would suggest he get different representation.
Although I respect your opinions on this matter, you haven’t changed my mind.