Johnny Depp’s attorney weighed in on Alex Jones’ latest defamation trial over the Sandy Hook massacre, saying “lies are not protected” by the First Amendment.
Benjamin Chew appeared in Law and Crime on Tuesday to speak about the case currently underway in court in Connecticut, where jurors will decide how much damage the far-right conspiracy theorist must pay the families of victims of the 2012 shooting.
Chew, who was a key member of Depp’s legal team during his successful defamation case against Amber Heard, pointed out that the courtroom is “a very different environment” from the Infowars extremist conspiracy program when it comes to being able to spread.” abominable lies.”
“Alex Jones is no longer in Russia. This is America and the lies that hurt people – especially hideous lies, horrible lies, are not and never were protected by the First Amendment,” he said.
“So the requirements to be an effective courier can conflict with one’s legal obligation and that’s where the rubber hits the road.
“And Alex Jones will find – as he did in Texas – that the courtroom is a very different environment than his talk show.”
Chew was asked about the court testimony of Clinton Watts, an expert witness on the subject of social media, disinformation and fake news, who testified on Tuesday.
Watts, who testified before Congress about Russia’s online disinformation campaign in the 2016 presidential election, spoke about footage of Jones calling the Sandy Hook massacre a “hoax”, calling him an “effective messenger”.
Watts said that Jones was “highly effective in terms of producing content” as he used various methods to get his message across: the fear of disarming Americans of their weapons, the demonization of a specific group (using “them” and “us” rhetoric) and fanning anger by saying there is a plot.
He’s building a community around this false narrative with the public, Watts said.
Jones himself is due to testify at the trial on Wednesday or Thursday.
Jones began spouting lies almost immediately after the 2012 massacre at Aandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The right-wing extremist claimed on his conspiracy website that the mass shooting was “a giant hoax” and that the child victims murdered in the attack were “actors”.
He continued to push the lies to his followers for years, claiming it was a “false flag” operation.
While Jones has profited financially from spreading his lies, the victims’ families have been subjected to years of harassment and personal and online threats from his followers.
Several lawsuits were filed against the conspiracy theorist – all of which he lost.
Last month, the first lawsuit finally went to trial in Texas and Jones was ordered to pay $4.11 million in compensatory damages and $45.2 million in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of the victim of six. years old, Jesse Lewis.
In testimony at that trial, Jones admitted that he knew the massacre was real.
Jurors in Connecticut will now decide how much Jones must pay the families compensation in the second trial.
Chew’s comments about the case come after he accused Heard of lying about being a victim of abuse by Depp during the former couple’s defamation trial in Fairfax, Virginia.
Depp sued his ex-wife for defamation in a 2018 editorial to The Washington Post where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse and spoke of feeling “the full force of our culture’s anger at the women who speak out”.
During the televised trial, both Depp and Heard testified and accused each other of abuse.
One of the most damning accusations came when Heard described in graphic detail how Depp allegedly raped her with a bottle of liquor in Australia in 2015. Bottle of liquor for him.
In June, a seven-person jury sided with Depp and found Heard defamed him on all three counts.
Jurors awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, before Fairfax County Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the latter to the state’s legal limit of $350,000.
Heard won one of her three counterclaims against her ex-husband, with the jury concluding that Depp — through her attorney Adam Waldman — had defamed her by labeling her allegations about a 2016 incident as “an ambush, a hoax.” She received $2 million in compensatory damages but $0 in punitive damages, leaving the Aquaman actor $8.35 million out of pocket.
The legal battle between the two stars is expected to continue after they both filed appeals against the verdict.