A Connecticut jury of three males and three ladies will now decide how a lot Jones and his firm Free Speech Programs (FSS) should pay different households of extra college students and staff killed within the 2012 capturing, which Jones and his colleagues advised their viewers was a hoax.
Plaintiffs in three lawsuits in opposition to Jones and FSS, together with relations of eight college college students and staff and one FBI agent who responded to the scene, have all been condensed into the trial that begins this week.
A number of of the relations are anticipated to be within the courtroom for the trial and testify within the case, in line with Chris Mattei, an lawyer for the plaintiffs.
Jones can be anticipated to testify sooner or later, however it’s unclear whether or not he can be current within the courtroom all through the trial.
The plaintiffs allege their reputations have been broken they usually’ve endured years of emotional misery from harassment and public contempt on account of Jones’ protection of the capturing, in line with court docket paperwork.
In addition they say Jones and FSS violated the state’s Unfair Commerce Practices Act (CUTPA) having profited from pushing his narrative that the capturing was a hoax.
Connecticut regulation sometimes limits punitive damages in a civil trial to the price of authorized charges and trial prices however Choose Bellis may rule that the plaintiffs are entitled to extra in connection to the CUTPA declare.
Although the Texas jury decided Jones and his firm ought to pay the plaintiffs in that trial practically $50 million in punitive and compensatory damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional misery, Jones’ lawyer objected to the punitive damages award beneath Texas state regulation, which caps punitive damages. The final word award quantity in that case has but to be decided by the court docket and attorneys for Jones have indicated that they’ll attraction.
“Not directly you’ve got impacted each single day of my life negatively since — virtually since Jesse was murdered. Since 2013 when your movies had been going round,” Lewis stated.
“This is not staged like one in all your folks stated. It is a actual occasion. It appears so unbelievable to me that we’ve got to do that, that we’ve got to implore you — not simply implore you, punish you to get you to cease mendacity, saying it is a hoax. It occurred. It is like surreal what is going on on.”
“I by no means deliberately tried to harm you. I by no means even stated your identify till this case got here to court docket. I did not even know who you had been till a few years in the past when all this began up. The web had a variety of questions. I had questions,” Jones stated whereas on the witness stand within the Texas trial final month. “And that is actually been my large frustration is that individuals have stated that I am personally making an attempt to harm them or coming after after I query each large occasion.”
What Jones cannot say at trial
Throughout a virtually three-hour pretrial listening to final week Choose Bellis dominated on a number of subjects Jones and his authorized workforce can and can’t discuss in entrance of the jury, usually referencing hot-button moments from the widely-publicized Texas trial.
“I am not going to have these sorts of issues. It is a completely different courtroom, completely different regulation, completely different all the pieces,” Choose Bellis stated, referencing the decide within the Texas case having reprimanded Jones a number of instances for making improper or false claims in entrance of the jury.
Bellis additionally stated that she’s going to query Jones outdoors the presence of the jury earlier than he testifies in Connecticut to substantiate he understands the parameters of her orders.
“I’m not going to have a state of affairs the place we now must go off target from the center of the trial and I’ve to take care of a contempt of court docket state of affairs together with your consumer the place he is blatantly disregarding an order,” Choose Bellis advised Jones’ lawyer.
“If he wants to put in writing it out 10 instances time and again till he understands it, then that is what he must do,” Bellis stated.
Jones’ protection can not assert to the jury that being held accountable for damages on this trial is unfair or violates Jones’ First Modification rights, Bellis dominated.
“There can be no proof or argument that the Jones defendants glad their discovery obligations by making substantial manufacturing nor can they assault on the trial court docket stage in the course of the jury trial, that the choice was unfair,” Bellis stated.
Towards protection objections, Choose Bellis additionally stated she’s going to enable testimony from an skilled witness for the plaintiffs about Jones’ viewers and the political leanings and behavioral patterns that would have led some members of that viewers to purchase into Jones’ conspiracy idea that the 2012 elementary college capturing wasn’t actual.
Correction: An earlier model of this text incorrectly referred to one of many plaintiffs as a former FBI agent. The plaintiff, William Aldenberg, stays with the FBI.