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Sealer: Alex Jones gets beaten up

In Carlo Collodi’s classic and somewhat frightening 1883 novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” a doll who stumbles on her way to becoming a real boy falls into the habit of telling lies — “the worst habit any boy could ever have,” in the opinion of the life-giving genie and applied magic that makes his nose He grows up every time he lies.

At one point, Pinocchio’s buildup turned his schnapps into something like a ship’s mast – so big that he couldn’t even get it out the door. He is so frightened (“pale of fear and his eyes half of his head with terror”) that the fairy “began to feel sorry for him and clapped her hands together. A thousand woodpeckers flew through the window and rested on Pinocchio’s nose. They pecked and pecked hard on that gigantic nose in just a few moments.” It was the same size as before.”

This vivid image—like a helpful reflection on the final standoff in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds—was scraped last week when I watched Alex Jones, the conspiracy king of the Magic Kingdom known as Infowars, sweat and cough his way through a wilted interrogation in an Austin, Texas courtroom. It was introduced by Mark Bankston, attorney for Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was among the 20 first-graders and six adult teachers shot dead in the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

Jones, of course, responded to the killings by providing a platform on his show for far-right scammers or just plain psychopaths, who delivered a steady stream of lies and broke theories to say the killings were orchestrated by representatives at the behest of the federal government in order to strengthen oversight of the killings. weapons. With a sucker born every minute and a small percentage of them dangerous, many Sandy Hook parents have been and continue to be stalked, threatened, and abused online enough to force some into hiding.

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Jones’ business model is built around being a tough guy, so he doesn’t regret well. It also doesn’t do court-ordered discovery very well, which is why Louis Heslin’s lawsuit is one of four that Jones lost by default due to his failure to properly respond to orders to file documents and appear for affidavits. The only thing left to determine is how much he and Infowars must pay for the damage they’ve caused. On Friday, a jury in Austin estimated that figure at nearly $50 million.

Since Jones’ defeat is due in part to his failure to turn over relevant documents, there is an unfamiliar irony in the fact that the last defense attorney, Andino Renal, apparently sent the entire contents of his superstitious cell phone to Bankston. Rinal does not appear to have given a general explanation of what happened, although one would imagine a conspiracy-minded observer might say his client has one problem with appeal based on the argument that he lacks a competent attorney.

Meanwhile, Bankston said he plans to turn over the materials to the congressional committee investigating the storming of the Capitol. Jones was reported to have been in regular contact in the lead up to that episode with Roger Stone and other hitchhikers who had stopped stealing. And if the wrongly shared material reveals that Jones lied himself on the platform, his problems could be both criminal and civil.

Even before Bankston went to work at Jones, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble responded to Rinal’s initial questioning of his client by reminding Jones that he could not, say, tell a jury that he had complied with the discovery—because he hadn’t. “You must tell the truth while you testify,” she said. “This is not your program.”

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