Kelly Jones’ lawyer described Austin broadcaster Alex Jones in court Monday as a “master manipulator” who could turn their children against her even as he persuaded the forensic and clinical psychologist retained by the court that he was doing nothing of the sort.
“You also understand that Mr. Jones is a master manipulator fully capable of turning these kids against Ms. Jones,” attorney Robert Hoffman told Jeffrey Siegel, the Dallas psychologist who prepared parental alienation reports in December 2015 and another in March — and in neither case found evidence that Alex Jones was undermining his ex-wife’s relationship with their children.
“I don’t think that he did, but I’m sure he is fully capable,” Siegel replied to Hoffman.
For more than two-and-a-half hours, Hoffman offered a withering cross-examination of Siegel, who he depicted as performing the most incurious and cursory investigation in coming to his conclusion.
Hoffman said while he pored over therapist reports on Kelly Jones, he didn’t inspect any of Alex Jones’ therapy file— which Siegel said no one provided him.
“Is that just another gaping hole maybe the size of a bridge tunnel in your knowledge of Alex Jones,” said Hoffman, who asked Siegel if he had ever listened to any of Alex Jones’ Infowars broadcasts.
“Never have,” Siegel said.
“You would agree if a man is on the air four hours a day spewing hatred and vile and racist statements that represents a danger to his children, doesn’t it?” Hoffman asked Siegel.
Attorney Randall Wilhite, representing Alex Jones, objected to the question and Siegel never had to answer it.
Hoffman also asked Siegel if it was odd that Jones’ 9- and 12-year-old daughters occasionally sleep with him.
It would be if it were a regular occurrence, Siegel said, but it is his understanding it has only happened when there was a “thunderstorm or they have trouble falling asleep.”
“Are you making this up as you go along?” Hoffman said at one point to Siegel, challenging what he said was his lack of knowledge of the best thinking and research on parental alienation, right down to not knowing that Tuesday is Parental Alienation Awareness Day.
Parental alienation is central to Kelly Jones’ case to gain full or joint custody of the three children, with whom she now has only limited, supervised visitation — as little as four hours a month.
Siegel said the children do suffer some estrangement from their mother as a consequence of “her history of problems with emotional control.”
“They love their mom but mom scares them,” Siegel said. “They want to be there but they are afraid to be there.”
He said the Jones children do not exhibit the traits of parental alienation, in which they would appear to be speaking from a script imitating the other parent’s talking points.
While Siegel was hired as an impartial party and paid $60,000 to prepare the two reports in the case, Hoffman complained that he had also arranged with Alex Jones’ lawyers to have them pay him $3,500-a-day to attend most of the trial’s first week to hear the testimony of other psychologists, therapists and counselors , creating what Hoffman called an “appearance of impropriety.”