AUSTIN, Texas ― Attorneys for Alex Jones’ ex-wife grilled him on the witness stand Thursday in his high-profile custody battle, in an aggressive line of questioning that focused on the conservative radio host’s temperament and character.
First on the agenda: whether Jones had eaten chili that morning.
“Is that a serious question?” Jones responded.
Alex Jones and his ex-wife, Kelly, are drawing national media attention for the fight over their three children. Alex Jones’ lawyers are arguing that the raging conspiracy theorist and ally of President Donald Trump is a different man when he comes home to his kids than he is on his radio show Infowars. Attorneys for his ex-wife have argued that his show exhibits a spiteful and offensive ideology that he inculcates into his children.
During depositions, Bobby Newman, Kelly Jones’ attorney, noted that Alex Jones once said he had trouble remembering the names of his children’s teachers because he had eaten a large bowl of chili. Insisting the meal was relevant, Newman had Alex Jones read from a transcript of the deposition, in which he had said the teachers’ names would “pop in my head, I ate too much chili.” Jones then read a question from the transcript from an attorney asking if chili clouds his memory, followed by his response: “Big old bowl of chili. Sure does, yeah.”
The food questions stopped after Randall Wilhite, one of Alex Jones’ lawyers, called it “argumentative and silly.”
The crux of Alex Jones’ case is that he’s not the same guy on air as he is with his children.
Before the cross-examination, Jones took questions from his own attorney, in which he tried to communicate to the jury that the enraged character he plays on his show is a different man from the sensitive father he says he is at home.
“You have a certain sort of delivery,” Wilhite said. “Do you take that home with you?”
Other than talking politics with his kids when they express an interest, he said, he didn’t.
“No. None of the bombasity, when I rage,” Jones said. “Stephen Colbert made fun of me the other day. I’m sure his kids see him get angry on TV.”
George Soros has basically brain-damaged a lot of people.”
His lawyer likened Jones’ performance on Infowars to comedian Jon Stewart or conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh, saying their work ― like his ― is inflected with satire. Jones agreed, describing 90 percent of what he does on Infowars as “hard news,” with a mix of satire and humor making up the balance.
“They play characters to illustrate who they are,” Jones said of the celebrities he was compared to, adding that he doesn’t think they take it home to their families. “I know I don’t,” he said. “I don’t want to think about work when I go home.”
Newman’s cross-examination also brought up where and when Jones has smoked weed. Jones said he takes a few puffs every year to gauge how strong it has become since his high school days, arguing that law enforcement tests the potency of weed the same way he does. Jones’ experiments have led him to conclude that marijuana today is too strong, he said, and therefore should be decriminalized rather than legalized entirely.
“George Soros has basically brain-damaged a lot of people,” Jones said of the liberal billionaire, who has helped fund efforts to legalize the drug.
While known for his bluster on air, Jones largely maintained his composure under an interrogation that clearly needled him. At times he sighed in exasperation, threw up his hands, rolled his eyes, or did all three things at once. Newman, who has expressed frustration with Jones over the last days for gesturing at him or shaking his head during proceedings, badgered Jones when his answers veered off track.
“If you’re not high, why can’t you just answer my questions?” Newman asked Jones at one point.
Newman’s cross-examination continued in this vein. He accused Jones of carrying on a sexual relationship with a woman other than his new wife, whom he married in 2015. Jones said his current wife was aware of the infidelity, but he denied that he continued having sex with the other woman after he became engaged. His lawyer challenged the relevance of the questioning, without success.
After that, Newman moved on to Jones’ drinking, rolling a clip of an allegedly inebriated Jones saying he was going to go “piss” on a tree. Jones said he wasn’t drunk and his comment was just a joke; he actually urinated in a nearby port-a-potty after the segment cut off air, he said.
It remained unclear how much of Jones’ testimony would affect the jury members, who have also heard therapists describe his ex-wife Kelly’s treatment of their children as “abusive.” Jones has held primary custody of all three kids for the last 30 months.
“It’s one of the saddest things in my life that has happened,” he said of the custody battle. “I worked as hard as I could to keep it out of the news.”