Why Alex Jones wants US Supreme Court to rule on his ‘blood on the streets’ rant
NEWTOWN — Extremist Alex Jones is appealing to the nation’s highest court after sanctions for his profanity-laden call-to-war against his “enemies” behind the Sandy Hook defamation lawsuit were upheld by Connecticut Supreme Court.
“The Connecticut (Supreme) Court’s ruling is both shocking in its cavalier disregard of core first amendment jurisprudence, and deeply troubling as a precedent that extends the trial court's power to police the speech of litigants even when those litigants are neither before the court, nor engaged in litigation proceedings,” reads a motion Jones’ attorney filed Tuesday with the state’s highest court.
Jones, the host of the Texas-based internet show Infowars, is referring to a decision last week by Connecticut Supreme Court to deny his appeal and uphold sanctions levied against Jones in trial court for saying to Sandy Hook families’ lawyers during a 2019 broadcast, “If you want blood, you’ve got it. Blood on the streets, man…”
Jones, who replaced his high-profile attorney Norm Pattis shortly before the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling, rehired Pattis to make Jones’ appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Pattis confirmed on Thursday.
There is no guarantee that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Jones’ appeal when it is filed. As of Thursday, in fact, the Connecticut Supreme Court was yet to rule on whether to grant Jones request for a stay in his Connecticut case while Jones prepares his appeal to the nation’s highest court.
But the trial court judge who originally slapped Jones with sanctions in 2019 has postponed activity in the case until the Connecticut Supreme Court rules on Jones’ request for a stay.
Jones is being sued in Texas and Connecticut by families that lost loved ones in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre for calling the tragedy “staged,” “synthetic,” “manufactured,” “a giant hoax,” and “completely fake with actors” with “inside job written all over it.”
Jones’ attorneys have argued in court that Jones no longer believes that Connecticut’s worst crime was faked, and that Jones has the right to be wrong.
Chris Mattei, one of the families’ attorneys at Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder who Jones singled out in his 2019 rant, called Jones’ appeal a stunt.
“Mr. Jones has sought to delay justice at every turn because he knows he will have nowhere to hide when this case goes before a jury,” Mattei said on Thursday. “But, that day will come. The Sandy Hook families will make sure of that.”
At stake for Jones is the ability to pursue what he considers a key line of defense - that he is protected from liability for his free speech under a 2017 Connecticut statute designed to keep frivolous lawsuits from chilling people’s First Amendment rights.
Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis took that option away from Jones when she hit him with sanctions last summer, after Jones went on his Infowars show with Pattis, claiming someone had embedded child pornography in Jones’ emails that were turned over to Sandy Hook families as part of the pretrial discovery process.
Transcripts from Jones’ June 14, 2019, broadcast quote Jones singling out Mattei and “the firm of Koskoff & Koskoff run by Senator Murphy and Senator Blumenthal.”
Later in the broadcast, according to the transcript in court documents, Jones said: “And so, if they want war - you know, it’s not a threat. It’s like an AC/DC song. If you want blood, you’ve got it. Blood on the streets, man ... .”
Pattis in his motion on Monday argues that Jones’ rant did not cross the threshold of a threat.
“The Connecticut (Supreme) Court did not find that Mr. Jones speech satisfied the requirements of the true threat, incitement or fighting words doctrines,” Pattis writes. “Instead, the Court held that out-of-court utterances posed a threat to the administration of justice.”
Pattis has 90 days to make Jones’ case to the U.S. Supreme Court.