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

Young: Trump’s deregulatory fury will threaten American lives
Young: Trump’s deregulatory fury will threaten American lives

The killers were silent, but the sensors at my feet were screaming out their names. I was in a plane flying over the Houston Ship Channel to see air pollution. A Baylor University scientist had invited me. The cramped single-engine had barely room for me and the sensors coughing out data on the nitrogen dioxide, particulates and hydrocarbons being...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 26, 2018
Letters to the editor: Sept. 26, 2018

On immigration, Cruz is on the wrong side I am what Sen. Cruz called a “good legal immigrant” at the senatorial debate. Coming from Denmark I went through all the Kafkaesque bureaucracy and became a citizen. Yet, unlike Cruz, my newfound citizenship is no less valuable to me should the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrant Americans...
Opinion: University corruption

I’m thankful that increasing attention is being paid to the dire state of higher education in our country. Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has just published “The Diversity Delusion.” Its subtitle captures much of the book’s content: “How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 25, 2018
Letters to the editor: Sept. 25, 2018

Query: What are the Republican senators and Chuck Grassley afraid of? What is President Donald Trump afraid of? They all do not want an FBI investigation into the events leading to the accusation of sexual assault, attempted rape of Dr. Ford, by then-high school student Brett Kavanaugh. Why? Many years ago, during another Supreme Court Justice Senate...
Commentary: Fathers need to remember that their sons are watching

CHICAGO — What’s it like to be a boy these days? It’s a frequent thought for me as I navigate my son’s 17th year of life in a world where the scourge of toxic masculinity shares the public consciousness with admiration of spectacularly muscled sports stars and big-screen superheroes whose worth is predicated on their physical...
More Stories