Herman: Alex Jones, often offensive, plays defense at custody trial


The strategy was simple, transparent and exactly what you would do if you were battling Alex Jones in a child custody case: try to make the Alex Jones on the witness stand look like the Alex Jones on Infowars.

Success, by any means necessary under the rules of courtroom engagement, could mean jurors in the Jones family soap opera would see him as a guy you wouldn’t ask for directions, much less continue to have custody of his three kids.

During several hours of friendly questioning from his lawyer, we saw photos of the kids and heard that Jones’ current wife is due with their first child next month. Bobby Newman of Houston, the aggressive lawyer representing Jones’ ex-wife Kelly Jones, then rose Thursday morning to do his darnedest to make Alex Jones look like a bad dad who delegates many of his parental responsibilities.

STAY ON TOP OF THE NEWS: Click here to sign up for our Breaking News emails

Things started friendly enough.

“Good morning, Mr. Jones,” Newman said.

“Hey, how you doing?” Jones replied.

Turns out what Newman was doing was going from courteous to contentious in no time flat.

“You haven’t had any chili this morning?” he asked Jones in an intended-to-inflame reference to a deposition in which Jones had said his memory had been compromised by a “big ol’ bowl of chili.”

For what it’s worth, Jones testified he had no pretrial chili on Thursday, but had enjoyed two breakfast tacos. And Newman went on to question and prod Jones about his drinking habits (not much anymore, Jones said), marijuana use (once a year for research purposes, Jones testified) and whether he had sex with another woman while he engaged to his current wife (“I’d have to see a calendar,” Jones said, later denying the alleged indiscretion).

TEXAS POLITICS DELIVERED EVERY DAY: Sign up for our Texas Politics email

The first Jones video jurors saw on the big screen was him in Washington at the time of the Donald Trump inauguration. “The age of fake bull**** is over,” Jones said boisterously on the video.

In response to a Newman question, Jones said he was not drunk — by Jones’ definition — on the video.

Jones became a high-profile Trump backer during the campaign, and Trump said good things about Jones during an appearance with him on Jones’ show Infowars. The only Thursday courtroom reference to Trump came when Jones said that one of his children, referring to something Alex Jones said the child heard from Kelly Jones, said to him: “Is it true you bought off the courthouse and Donald Trump is doing all this?”

In a pre-emptive strike, Alex Jones’ lawyer Randall Wilhite asked him about his “certain sort of delivery style.”

Anyone who’s seen the delivery style certainly understands the question.

Jones said the on-air style sometimes includes “playing a character,” “having fun or being silly” and that “none of the adult-type content” comes home with him.

“No,” Jones said, “none of the bombasity, none of when I rage.”

Jones’ style on the stand was far more reserved than the “certain sort of delivery style” his lawyer had mentioned. But he was reminded to slow down several times. And he remained expressive, unable to go more than about 5 seconds at a time without making a face that invited interpretation. He also managed to interrupt Judge Orlinda Naranjo while she was reminding him not to interrupt.

Newman, in his effort to show Alex Jones as an unfit parent, showed three videos of him, including one that was stopped when his lawyer objected. Naranjo then told jurors to disregard it. It showed Jones on a show in which he and other men talked raucously and approvingly of Trump’s comments about grabbing women’s genitals, comments they said had been misinterpreted by some.

RELATED: The children in Alex Jones’ life — his, Sandy Hook’s

The other videos showed Alex Jones in Washington for the Trump inauguration and one in which he said he could drink “a jug of Jack Daniels” without showing any impact.

Newman riled Jones by delving into an advertisement, apparently from six years ago, in which Newman said Jones’ current wife sought hotel clients as a “massage therapist” who could be a “sensual, sophisticated and intelligent companion.”

“This is an identity theft issue,” Jones said. He would tell Newman moments later, “I just don’t trust you, man.”

And things got even testier when Jones claimed Newman had twisted the truth about whether Jones’ ex-wife wanted to see her son. She did not, Alex Jones said.

“You have won the award, man,” Jones, in his most emotional outburst of the day, told Newman. “No decency. Zero.”

That exchange led to a courtroom break, which, at one point, left Newman and Jones face to face after Newman was talking about a busy schedule that would require him to drive to Houston on Thursday night for a Friday hearing.

“See,” Jones told Newman with a smile, “it’s OK to delegate.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

TWO VIEWS: This was the year Texas bucked restrictive local policies
TWO VIEWS: This was the year Texas bucked restrictive local policies

Over the past 12 months, Texas’ public policy landscape has undergone some big changes, especially when it comes to local governance. Take the issue of local control, for example. For years, powerful special interest groups representing cities, counties, and school districts at the Capitol have advanced their interests by arguing that local control...
TWO VIEWS: Why 2017 is the year obscenity in Texas and America
TWO VIEWS: Why 2017 is the year obscenity in Texas and America

The year 2017 began on Oct. 7. The calendars may claim Jan. 1st as the first day of a new year. Here, near the end of this one, we know better. The year really began the day a video was released in which Donald Trump bragged that he was so famous he could abuse women at will. “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything&hellip...
Letters to the editor: Nov. 11, 2017

Re: Dec. 3 article, “UT students take on challenging musical in program’s finale.” Thank you so much for writing such a comprehensive and thoughtful response to the University of Texas’ final musical. As a UT student and a longtime lover of the theater, I am extremely disheartened by the end of the musical theatre program on...
COMMENTARY: Watch out — Republicans are coming for your benefits

Republicans don’t care about budget deficits, and never did. They only pretend to care about deficits when one of two things is true: a Democrat is in the White House, and deficit rhetoric can be used to block his agenda, or they see an opportunity to slash social programs that help needy Americans, and can invoke deficits as an excuse. All of...
Opinion: Is flirting sexual harassment?

In 2003 a genetics paper revealed that one in 200 men alive in that year was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan (1162-1227). Khan was the Mongol emperor whose armies swept out of the north to conquer pretty much all of Asia. His successors took big chunks of Europe as well. When Marco Polo traveled to China, he met the conqueror’s grandson Kublai...
More Stories