- A Sandy Hook dad called Alex Jones a coward while testifying in Jones’ defamation case.
- Neil Heslin’s son, Jesse, was 6-years-old when he was killed in the 2012 mass shooting.
- Heslin said he hoped this trial will hold Jones accountable for his falsehoods about the shooting.
The father of one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre slammed Alex Jones as “cowardly” after the far-right conspiracy theorist broadcaster didn’t show up in a Texas courtroom to hear his testimony during Jones’ defamation damages trial.
“I think it’s disrespect. I think it’s a cowardly act of Alex Jones not facing me here in this courtroom,” Neil Heslin said on Tuesday when asked by his attorney how it makes him feel that Jones did not show up in court as he took the witness stand.
Jones — who has only attended some of the trial in Austin and is expected to testify in his own defense — “has not had the courage to face me at this moment,” Heslin said.
Jones’ attorney previously told the court that Jones has a “medical condition” that may prevent him from attending the trial, though the lawyer didn’t go into detail.
Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis have sued Jones, the founder of InfoWars, and his media company Free Speech Systems, for defamation over his falsehoods about the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, mass shooting that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead.
In the aftermath of the massacre, Jones repeatedly told his audience that the shooting was a “giant hoax” staged by the government with “crisis actors.”
Heslin and Lewis experienced torment and harassment for years by followers of Jones, thanks to the broadcaster’s decade-long “massive campaign of lies” about the shooting, another lawyer for the parents previously said in court.
Heslin told the jury on Tuesday that he has endured a “living hell” due to the “negligence and recklessness of Alex Jones and the propaganda that he peddled for his own profits and success.”
Two years ago someone shot at Heslin’s house, he said as he called it “disturbing.”
“My life has been threatened,” Heslin said. “I fear for my life, I fear for my safety and my family’s safety.”
As for any possible apology, Heslin said: “Alex Jones’ apologies are worthless.”
Heslin said he sought monetary damages because Jones’ words are insincere and he wants this to serve as a deterrent so he doesn’t continue spreading lies.
“Don’t turn around and say you’re sorry and recklessly turn around and do what you did before,” he said.
Jones has a platform and had a “very strong voice,” he said.
“This trial is the only way I can restore my credibility and my reputation,” Heslin said.
Jones has already been found liable for defamation by the Texas court and a court in Connecticut for his depiction of the rampage — the deadliest school shooting in American history.
The jury in the trial will determine how much money Jones must pay to Heslin and Lewis, who are seeking $150 million in compensatory damages.