High-profile New Haven attorney Norm Pattis and another lawyer defending extremist Alex Jones against defamation lawsuits from Sandy Hook families want the Connecticut judge removed from the case for “the appearance of judicial impropriety.”
“The evolution of the case, including a threat made against Judge Bellis by an unknown third-party that the plaintiffs somehow attribute to defendants, and the series of subsequent comments and rulings, would lead a reasonable person knowing all the circumstances to question Judge Bellis’ impartiality,” writes Jones’ attorney Jay Wolman in a 28-page motion to state Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis on Tuesday. “Judge Bellis’ rulings …demonstrate a high degree of antagonism towards defendants.”
Pattis agrees in his own 28-page affidavit, submitted Wednesday to Bellis.
“Inconsistent rulings, raising an inference that Judge Bellis is prejudice against the Jones defendants, would lead a reasonable person knowing all the circumstances to question Judge Bellis’ impartiality,” Pattis writes.
The move by Jones to disqualify Bellis and have his Connecticut defamation case moved to another judge follows a two-hour hearing on Wednesday, when Bellis promised to sanction Jones again in November, and consider other sanctions, including entering a default judgment against him.
Bellis responded to Jones’ motion to recuse her by scheduling dates on the court calendar to hear arguments from both sides.
On Thursday, attorneys for the seven families and an FBI agent suing Jones for calling the 2012 massacre of 26 first-graders and educators “staged,” “synthetic,” “manufactured,” “a giant hoax,” and “completely fake with actors” declined to comment on the effort to remove Bellis.
Jones’ motion to remove Bellis is the latest example of how five defamation cases against him by Sandy Hook families in Connecticut and Texas have been more about fighting court procedure than arguing Jones’ defense under the First Amendment.
Meanwhile a hearing is planned on Monday in Texas, where the parents of two slain Sandy Hook children won three defamation cases against Jones in late September, when the judge defaulted him for “flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules.”
In Connecticut, Pattis and Jones’ other attorney are trying to remove Bellis for three reasons:
Her handling of a threat against her made in the comments section of a news story on Jones’ Infowars website
Her handling of sanctions she imposed on Jones after his “blood on the streets” broadcast, which deprived him the chance to pursue a special motion to dismiss that he considers important to his defense
Her handling of defense arguments after the state Supreme Court upheld her sanctions against Jones
“Although the decisions of Judge Bellis were affirmed on appeal, her actions to that point nonetheless created the appearance of bias,” Wolman writes in his motion to dismiss the judge.