CT lawyer who won $1B Alex Jones verdict talks Sandy Hook trial

WESTPORT — In October, almost ten years after the Sandy Hook school shooting, eight families of the victims and one FBI agent received $965 million in a defamation case against Alex Jonesone of the largest damages awards in history — and a lawyer from Westport played a key part in it.

On Jan. 19, the Y’s Men of Westport hosted a talk with Attorney Josh Koskoff, a longtime Westporter and Staples grad, who represented the families in this trial, as well as a case against Remingtonthe manufacturer of the gun used in shooting.

Koskoff opened with a quote from the Bible, where God casts Satan from heaven: “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”

“And merchandise is what Alex Emerick Jones is all about,” Koskoff said.

For years, Jones used social media platforms, his own website, InfoWars, and his radio show, “The Alex Jones Show,” to spread misinformation about the shooting that killed 20 students and six educators. Some instances include calling the shooting a “hoax” that was staged by “crisis actors.”

He listed examples of merchandise Jones has promoted, including supplements and iodine, which helped fund his programs.

“Jones takes from the playbook from other figures, notably cult leaders, terrorists and autocrats,” Koskoff said. “His major message is that the world is filled with global and corporate elites and media elites that are coming to enslave you, take away your guns and depopulate you.”

Koskoff said that they had to convince the jury that there were people who believed Jones’ rhetoric.

“The truth is, you have to take a leap of faith that there is,” he said. “There are people who believe that everything he says is true and everything else that the media says is false.”

Koskoff said Jones used the internet, specifically social media, to push his “agenda,” which he described as an “us versus them” message within politics, to then drive people to purchase his merchandise.

“He’s a household name now and Sandy Hook really put him on the map… and made him rich,” Koskoff said.

He added that Jones had multiple websites that would funnel viewers “right into the InfoWars store, after ginning them up with fear and loathing.”

On July 20, 2012, about five months before the Sandy Hook shooting, another mass shooting occurred at a movie theater in Colorado.

Jones went on his show about the shooting, saying, there was a “100 percent chance” that the mass shooting “was a false flag, mind control event.”

Koskoff said Jones will “pounce on” catastrophe events to ultimately sell his products.

“He’s already planted a seed here for his audience that the Aurora shooting was staged, effectively, by the government,” he said.

By the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, Koskoff said Jones had already amassed 119 million sessions on his website.

“And what the families of those lost children didn’t know, a different type of assault was about to begin — not against their children, but against them,” he said.

Koskoff said this “assault” started that day and will last for the rest of their lives.

Koskoff said that on Dec. 14, 2012, the day of the tragedy, Jones repeated on his show what he had been saying for months, “They are going to come after our guns. Look for mass shootings.”

Koskoff called it “communication at its best,” with his repetition and rhythm of “they” throughout the segment. He said the term “they” is used often today online, even in Westport.

“It is a very, very intoxicating way of communicating,” he said.

Koskoff showed a video of one of the victim’s father, Robbie Parker, talking at a press conference the day after the shooting, which Jones would later use to spread his rhetoric.

In the video, Parker is seen smiling and laughing before the interview. Jones said that because he was laughing, he was doing “classic acting training.”

Koskoff said that Parker’s laughter was actually caused by his father who said, “Go get ’em, Auggie,” before he went on camera. “Auggie” is the name of the mascot Parker, dressed up as during college.

Parker would later receive $120 million for the defamation, the highest of those involved.

In the case, Koskoff and other lawyers used analytics to show how Jones benefited from defaming the Sandy Hook family.

Koskoff said members of InfoWars denied using Google Analytics to track their performance, but that ended up not being true. From 2012 to 2013, InfoWars’ sessions rose from 119 million to 179 million.

One of the pieces of evidence in the case was an article from InfoWars entitled “FBI says no one killed at Sandy Hook.” Visits to the website spiked soon after its publication on Sept. 24, 2014, about doubling. The day it was published, Jones made about $48,230 in profits from his website. One day later, he made about $232,825, Koskoff said.

To end off the talk, Koskoff related his points to Westport.

He showed comments from a local website in which people were criticizing people involved in a decision not to reinstall awestport/article/westport-library-river-of-names-mural-17674292.php”> murals at the Westport Library.

Koskoff said, “When you put something online, just ask yourself a simple question: ‘Would I say this thing to this person’s face?'”

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