The mother of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre has described Alex Jones as the “biggest bully I’ve ever dealt with”.
Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed in the 2012 massacre, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that testifying in the far-right conspiracy theorist’s first defamation trial was the “hardest thing” she has done since losing her child – but that she had to stand up to try and stop him bullying others.
“Getting on the podium was something I felt I had to do. I didn’t want to do it,” he said.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve done since killing Jesse, but I think when your bully won’t stop — I mean, he’s literally going up against the biggest bully I’ve ever faced — you have to do it so he doesn’t. do it to other people’.
Ms. Lewis said she thought about her son’s bravery in standing up to gunman Adam Lanza during the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School when she was confronted with Mr. Jones’ lies on the stand.
“I’m thinking about Jesse. He took on Adam Lanza who was the Sandy Hook shooter and saved nine of his classmates before losing his own,” she said.
“And so I kept thinking about it when I was on the stand and I thought that was the easier of the two. And if he could do what he did at six, I sure could do it.”
Last month, Ms Lewis confronted Jones about the damage he had caused by spreading his lies that the Sandy Hook massacre was a “hoax” and that the victims and their families were “crisis agents”.
In shocking testimony, the mother spoke directly to Mr Jones in the Texas courtroom and asked him: “Do you think I’m an actor?”
“I am a mother first and foremost and I know you are a father. My son existed,” she told him.
“I’m not deep state… I know you know it… And yet you’re going to walk out of this courthouse and say it again on your show.”
He continued: “It seems so unbelievable to me that we have to do this – that we have to plead with you, punish you – make you stop lying.”
The far-right extremist was ordered to pay $4.11 million in compensatory damages and $45.2 million in punitive damages to Ms. Lewis and Jesse’s father, Neil Heslin in that case.
Asked by TV presenter Anderson Cooper how she dealt with “this bloated, damaged person in court, this half-man”, Ms Lewis said she had “feeling and compassion” for Mr Jones.
“My feeling and compassion for Alex Jones helped me on the stand,” he said.
“I don’t want to give my personal power to someone who is so hurt and I did it with forgiveness and compassion, but that doesn’t mean his words and actions don’t make me angry.”
Ms Lewis said she chooses to embrace “forgiveness and compassion” – something that has helped her with “post-traumatic growth”.
Her comments came as Jones faces his second defamation trial in a Connecticut court.
The Infowars host took the stand at that trial Thursday and Friday, where he launched into an angry rant saying he was “apologized” for causing a decade of harassment to the victims’ families.
“I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times. And I’m done saying sorry,” she shouted in the courtroom.
Jurors in Connecticut will decide how much Mr. Jones must pay the families in damages in this lawsuit.
Mr. Jones began making false claims hours after the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, claiming on his conspiracy website that the mass shooting was “a giant hoax” and that the victims were “actors.”
He continued to promote lies to his followers for years, claiming it was a “false flag” operation.
While Mr. Jones benefited financially from spreading his lies, the victims’ families suffered years of harassment and threats from his followers in person and online.