State Supreme Court to hear InfoWars appeal in Sandy Hook case
BRIDGEPORT - The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear InfoWars host Alex Jones’ appeal of court-ordered sanctions for allegedly making threats to the lawyer representing Sandy Hook families.
The appeals court granted Jones’ motion to take an emergency public interest appeal of a lower court ruling refusing to hear Jones’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by families affected by the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis had refused to hear the motion as a sanction for an angry outburst Jones aired on Infowars that the judge agreed was a threat against the families’ lawyer.
“Robust, even offensive, speech has long enjoyed first amendment protection. The trial court decision to issue sanctions for engaging in protected speech was an obscene mockery of core constitutional values,” Jones’s lawyer, Norm Pattis, said Wednesday.
“This is extremely good news for all who care about freedom of expression,” Pattis said. “One may disagree with Mr. Jones, in which case the remedy is not to listen to him. Silencing speech is never a good idea. While we owe sympathy to the Sandy Hook parents, their grief does not entitle them to become censors.”
Argument before the Supreme Court expected as early as September.
“We welcome review of the record in this case,” said Joshua Koskoff, who represents the Sandy Hook families. “It is more important than ever that the courtroom remains a place where the rule of law matters, where court orders matter, where being truthful matters and where litigants can pursue their rights and justice can be dispensed free from intimidation or threats.”
Bellis had ordered Jones to pay legal fees among other sanctions to the eight Sandy Hook families who are suing him for claiming the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown was a hoax.
A bizarre episode began when Koskoff’s firm contacted the FBI after discovering child porn in electronic files Jones recently turned over to the Sandy Hook families as a result of their lawsuit against him.
Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder lawyer William Bloss, said during a hearing before Bellis that after the firm’s staff discovered the child porn, they immediately notified the FBI, the U.S. Attorney and Pattis. Bloss said they did not go public with their discovery.
Bloss said the FBI determined that Jones had been sent the child pornography in emails and inadvertently included it in the material he forwarded to them.
However, on June 14, Jones, in a video broadcast on his website and with Pattis sitting next to him, accused the Koskoff firm and its lawyer, Chris Mattei, of trying to frame him with child porn.
“I’ll (expletive) get you in the end ... You’re trying to set me up with child porn ... one million dollars to put your head on a pike,” Jones stated during a 20-minute rant in which he pounded on a photograph of Mattei.
“What is not appropriate, what is indefensible, unconscionable, despicable and possibly criminal behavior is to accuse opposing counsel, through a broadcast, no less, of planting child pornography, which is a serious felony,” Bellis stated in her decision to levy sanctions.
Pattis maintained the judge was wrong.
“Alex Jones did not threaten Mattei, it’s not even close,” Pattis said. “Alex Jones is being punished for speaking out.”