The parents of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis, facing off against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in an Austin courtroom, have been placed in isolation under the protection of a beefed-up security force, their lawyer said Monday.
“Unfortunately, after some encounters — which did not occur in the courthouse, there were some encounters here in the city of Austin — my clients are now in isolation, and they are being protected by a large security staff,” said Mark Bankston, a lawyer for Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin.
Bankston declined to provide any details about the encounters.
“I can tell you that they are terrified, but they very much intend to continue this saga and finish this trial because they know a lot of people around the world are watching them,” he said. “They know the responsibility they have, and we’re going to keep them safe and we’re going to finish this.”
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Lewis and Heslin are expected to take the stand Tuesday, the last two witnesses in their case against Jones, for a trial to determine how much the founder of the InfoWars media system and his main company, Free Speech Systems, must pay in damages for defamation and intentionally inflicting emotional distress after Jones portrayed the 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School as a hoax and the parents as actors and government collaborators.
Jones has long held that the gunman’s attack, which killed 20 students and six educators, was staged to give the government a pretext to crackdown on gun rights.
Jones’ lawyer, Andino Reynal, said he plans to call only one witness for the defense — Jones.
Closing arguments are expected Wednesday.
Jones’ claims have inspired Sandy Hook deniers to confront Sandy Hook families in person and by sending harassing emails and threatening phone calls, according to lawsuits by Heslin and Lewis and testimony the Austin trial that began last week.