WATERBURY, Conn. — Testimony did not continue Friday and the session was prematurely adjourned after a surprise update from Alex Jones' legal team and other housekeeping issues amongst the counsel.
Jones literally derailed the proceedings from the outside-in when he offered remarks in an impromptu press conference on the courthouse steps. Remarks in which the plaintiff’s attorneys said Jones, “continued his efforts to undermine the trial.”
The defense also decided not to cross-examine Jones on the stand, partly due to the tense ending to Thursday's session.
Alex Jones appeared in court but did not testify Friday. There are plans for him to come back next week, possibly Wednesday or Thursday, when his defense attorney Norm Pattis can cross-examine him.
"We elected not to cross-examine Mr. Jones. We were satisfied with how he handled things," Pattis told the media after court adjourned Friday.
"Mr. Jones will testify, and he'll be the last witness and will have the last word," Pattis added.
Jones said earlier Friday that testifying next week would also give him more chance to “have a little bit of room to put on my case.”
“It’s so restricted with what the judge said we can talk about there’s no point of getting up there and just being a mannequin so that’s what’s happening,” Jones said.
Jones also elaborated on how he thought court ended Thursday.
“In Norm Pattis’ words, Chris Mattei crapped the bed,” Jones said.
“The plaintiff’s lawyers just got completely out of control. Any other lawyer would have been arrested," Jones said. "My lawyer would have been arrested if he screamed for five minutes and ignored what the judge said.”
“Am I afraid of statements I say here may be used against me inside?” Jones added when asked. “No, I’m telling the truth here.”
As a result of Jones not testifying and rising concerns amongst counsel about what Jones said during his press conference during morning recess, the jury was dismissed as the lawyers and judge wrapped things up for the day.
Before dismissing the jurors, the judge implored that the jury cannot do independent research and reminded them after she had a previous discussion with the council that Jones allegedly encouraged the jury to do research during his latest press conference.
“If anyone in your lives, family or friends approaches you and says you actually can do independent research, I am here to tell you that you may not,” instructed Judge Barbara Bellis.
In relation to the jury, every day, their journals are reviewed for any notes on improper juror conduct that they observe. There was none. This jury is also down one alternate juror, who was excused Thursday for extenuating financial reasons.
With the jury gone, the judge and attorneys stayed on the record to handle more administrative issues including the context of Jones’ comments where he called out the attorneys and members of their families.
“Mattei's father, who is a famous lawyer, shooed him out and screamed at him yesterday after what he did,” remarked Jones.
Did it constitute a security risk to the law firm? The court concluded, no.
“I think we can move on from this issue,” said Bellis.
In one of the day's most dramatic moments, Judge Bellis threatened to sanction Pattis.
“I don’t want to fine an attorney. I have gone almost two decades as a judge and never had to do that,” said Bellis.
Her admonishment came after shutting down Pattis’s courtroom rant about a reporter’s admittedly erroneous tweet which mischaracterized Pattis’ remarks about Jones.
Pattis shared details of the tweet outside of the courthouse:
Court will be back in session on Tuesday, with a day off expected Friday, Sept. 30. The trial is currently ahead of schedule and is estimated to wrap up by mid-October.
Thursday was the first time Jones testified in this case.
The session Thursday ended on an abrupt and intense note, after Mattei played the full speech a father of a Sandy Hook victim gave the day after the Sandy Hook shooting.
“That’s the real Robbie Parker, isn’t it?” Mattei said, raising his voice, and pointing to Parker, who was sitting in the gallery of the courtroom, along with numerous other Sandy Hook families. “And for years you put a target on his back, didn’t you?”
The proceedings then turned into a screaming match. Several observers in the courtroom, some of them families of the Sandy Hook victims, could be seen wiping their eyes, as Pattis was screaming over Mattei, Jones, and the judge, and objecting to numerous points Mattei was making.
“You have families in this courtroom that lost children, sisters, wives, Moms,” Mattei said.
“Is this a struggle session? Are we in China? I’ve already said I’m sorry several times and I’m done saying I’m sorry,” Jones said.
Before court adjourned Thursday, Bellis said she will have "zero tolerance" for Jones and his attorney not following the rules on Friday. She warned they could face a contempt hearing.
Jones was already found liable for damages for calling the Sandy Hook shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, a hoax on his InfoWars show.
A separate defamation trial over the summer ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million to the Lewis family, who lost their son Jesse in the shooting.
In this Connecticut case, the families of eight victims and an FBI agent that responded to the shooting filed for damages against Jones, saying his claims saying Sandy Hook was stage had turned them into targets.
Pattis argues that any damages should be limited and accuses the victims' relatives of exaggerating the harm the lies caused them.
A third similar suit, out of Texas, is awaiting trial.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took away the lives of 20 students and six educators.
Leah Myers is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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