EXPLAINER: Is Alex Jones’ trial about free speech rights?
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones arrived at the start of his Texas defamation trial for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack a hoax with the words “Save the 1st” scrawled on tape covering his mouth. Jones says the case is an assault on the First Amendment. Lawyers for the parents suing him say his repeated false claims about the shooting fall well outside the bounds of protected speech. Jones appeared to sabotage his chance to fully argue that his statements were protected by refusing to turn over evidence to the plaintiffs. That led the judge to essentially declare the plaintiffs the winner before the trial began. Instead, the trial is about how much Jones must pay.