Sandy Hook plaintiffs ask jury to 'send a message' with its decision as Connecticut trial against Alex Jones begins
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The trial is taking place a month after a Texas jury determined that Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, the parent of the conspiracy media organization Infowars, should award two parents nearly $50 million in a similar trial.In the Connecticut case, where Jones is being sued by different Sandy Hook families, Judge Barbara Bellis issued a default judgment against the Infowars founder in November 2021 judgment was after he failed to comply with court orders.Plaintiffs in three Connecticut lawsuits against Jones, including family members of eight school students and employees and one former FBI agent who responded to the scene, have all been condensed into the trial that commenced Tuesday morning. Because the judge already decided that Jones is liable, the jury is determining the amount of damages to award to the plaintiffs.Jones, who was not present during opening arguments, but is expected to testify during the weeks-long trial, baselessly said in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting that the incident was staged.Read MoreJones has since acknowledged the shooting occurred, but only after the lawsuits were filed. He said in a 2019 sworn deposition that a "form of psychosis" caused him to make his false comments.Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, argued during his opening statement that Jones pushed the Sandy Hook lie because it was profitable.Mattei showed data indicating that when Jones pushed the Sandy Hook conspiracy, web traffic to Infowars increased and so did profits."What you are seeing there is the relationship between the lie, the audience, and the money," Mattei argued.Mattei noted that the Sandy Hook families "did not have enough time" with their loved ones and only had the memories left behind. But, he said, Jones turned those memories "into a battleground" for profit.Mattei did not request that the jury award the Sandy Hook families a specific dollar amount, but said he hoped the decision will be "resounding enough to send a message to the people taken in by Alex Jones that they've been lied to.""You will be speaking on behalf of the community," Mattei told the jury.Norman Pattis, Jones' attorney, said during his opening statement that the claims made by the Sandy Hook plaintiffs are "exaggerated.""They've suggested your job is to punish Alex Jones ... they hate him because he says outrageous things and the haters want him silenced," Pattis said. "Each of you has chosen to be here today to compensate them for their grief and you're being asked to make an example of Alex. Money is their weapon of choice. Award them enough and you might silence Alex Jones.""This isn't a casino," Pattis added.Pattis argued that the Sandy Hook families have "become partisans.""Do they overstate the harm that Alex caused them because they want to silence him for political reasons? Because he disagrees with their point of view? I would suggest to you that is the case," Pattis said."First they came for Alex Jones," Pattis said as he concluded his opening statement. "Who is next?"CNN's Lauren del Valle and Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.Click Here To Get Funded!