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Sandy Hook

Infowars’ Alex Jones liable for damages in Sandy Hook lawsuits, judge rules


Story by Jessica Glenza

Story   Source

Published on October 3, 2021 10:48 AM
 
Jury will now consider damages after far-right conspiracy theorist failed to produce documents for the court cases In one instance, a Florida woman was sentenced to jail after sending Pozner multiple death threats. As part of the ruling against her, she was barred from accessing the Infowars website, the Huffington Post reported.
 
A Texas judge ruled the far-right conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones is liable for damages to families of children killed in the 2012 Newtown massacre in two lawsuits, after he repeatedly refused to produce documents for the court cases.

The rulings are "default judgments", or rare de facto losses, because of Jones's repeated failure to comply with discovery, or the process of producing documents for a court case. The court will convene a jury to consider damages.

"The court finds that defendants' failure to comply … is greatly aggravated by [their] consistent pattern of discovery abuse throughout similar cases pending before this court," wrote the Texas judge, Maya Guerra Gamble, in a judgment reported by CNN.

"The court finds that defendants' discovery conduct in this case is the result of flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rule," she wrote.

In 2012, a shooter with an AR-15-style rifle entered Sandy Hook elementary school and shot and killed 26 people, including six educators and 20 small children in Newtown, Connecticut.

In the years that followed, families would be plagued by death threats and harassment, prompted by conspiracy theories that the shooting was staged – with Jones among the most high-profile promoters of such baseless claims.

Alex Jones

Alexander Emerick Jones is an American far-right radio show host and highly prominent conspiracy theorist. He hosts The Alex Jones Show from Austin, Texas, which the Genesis Communications Network syndicates across the United States and online. Jones' website, InfoWars, promotes conspiracy theories and fake news, as do his other websites NewsWars and PrisonPlanet. Jones has provided a platform and support for white nationalists, as well as serving as an 'entry point' to their ideology. Jones has promoted conspiracy theories alleging that the United States government either concealed information about or outright falsified the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11 attacks, and the 1969 Moon landing. He has claimed that several governments and big businesses have colluded to create a 'New World Order' through 'manufactured economic crises, sophisticated surveillance tech and—above all—inside-job terror attacks that fuel exploitable hysteria'.

Mainstream sources have described Jones as a conservative, far-right, alt-right, and a conspiracy theorist. Jones has described himself as a paleoconservative and a libertarian.

A longtime critic of Republican and Democratic foreign and security policy, Jones supported Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid and continued to support him as a savior from an alleged criminal bipartisan cabal controlling the federal government, despite falling out over several of Trump's policies, including airstrikes against the Assad regime. A staunch supporter of Trump's reelection, Jones supported the false claims of electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential election, and on January 6, 2021, was a speaker at a rally in Lafayette Square Park supporting Trump, preceding an attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.

Early life and education
Jones was born on February 11, 1974, in Dallas, Texas, and was raised in the suburb of Rockwall. His father is a dentist and his mother is a homemaker. He is of Irish, German, Welsh, English, and partially Comanche descent. The family moved to Austin in 1991.

He attended Anderson High School, where he played football and graduated in 1993. After graduating, Jones briefly attended Austin Community College but dropped out. As a teenager, he read conspiracy theorist Gary Allen's book None Dare Call It Conspiracy, which had a profound influence on him. He described it as 'the easiest-to-read primer on The New World Order'.

Career
Early radio career
Jones began his career in Austin working on a live, call-in format public-access cable television program. In 1996, Jones switched to radio, hosting a show named The Final Edition on KJFK . While running for Congress, Ron Paul was a guest on his show several times. In 1999, Jones tied with Shannon Burke for that year's poll of 'Best Austin Talk Radio Host', as voted by readers of The Austin Chronicle. Later that year, he was fired from KJFK-FM for refusing to broaden his topics. The station's operations manager said that Jones's views made it difficult for the station to sell advertising. Jones said:

It was purely political, and it came down from on high I was told 11 weeks ago to lay off Clinton, to lay off all these politicians, to not talk about rebuilding the church, to stop bashing the Marines, A to Z.

The Alex Jones Show
After his firing from KJFK-FM, Jones began to broadcast his own show by Internet connection from his home. In July 2000, a group of Austin Community Access Center programmers claimed that Jones used legal proceedings and ACAC policy to intimidate them or try to get their shows thrown off the air.

In 2001, Jones's radio show was syndicated on approximately 100 stations. After the 9/11 attacks, Jones began to promote the conspiracy theory that the Bush administration was behind the attack. As a result, several stations that had carried his program dropped Jones, according to Will Bunch. Jones became a leading figure of the '9/11 truther' cause. In 2010, the show attracted around two million listeners each week. According to Alexander Zaitchik of Rolling Stone magazine, in 2011 he had a larger on-line audience than Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh combined. In 2020 The Alex Jones Show was syndicated nationally by the Genesis Communications Network to more than 100 AM and FM radio stations in the United States.

According to journalist Will Bunch, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, the show has a demographic that leans more towards younger listeners than other conservative pundits due to Jones's 'highly conspiratorial tone and Web-oriented approach'. Bunch has also stated that Jones 'feed on the deepest paranoia'.

InfoWars and other sites
Jones is the publisher and director of the InfoWars fake news website that promotes conspiracy theories. InfoWars receives approximately 10 million monthly visits, making its reach more extensive than mainstream news websites such as The Economist and Newsweek. According to a court testimony Jones delivered in 2014, InfoWars has revenues of over $20 million a year.

On July 6, 2017, alongside Paul Joseph Watson, Jones began hosting a contest to create the best 'CNN Meme', for which the winner would receive $20,000. They were responding to CNN reporting on a Reddit user who had created a pro-Trump, anti-CNN meme.

In February 2018, Jones was accused by two former employees of antisemitism, anti-black racism and sexual harassment. He denied the allegations. After InfoWars was banned from Facebook in 2018 for violations of its policies against harassment and hate speech, Jones used another site, NewsWars, to get around the ban.

Jones also operates the PrisonPlanet.com website.

Social media restrictions
On July 24, 2018, YouTube removed four InfoWars' videos citing 'child endangerment and hate speech', issued a 'strike' against the channel, and suspended the ability to live stream. On July 27, 2018, Facebook suspended Jones's profile for 30 days, and also removed the same videos, saying they violated standards against hate speech and bullying. On August 3, 2018, Stitcher Radio removed all of his podcasts citing harassment.

Later that year, on August 6, 2018, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify removed all content by Jones and InfoWars for policy violations. YouTube removed channels associated with InfoWars, including The Alex Jones Channel. On Facebook, four pages that were associated with InfoWars and Alex Jones were removed due to repeated policy violations. Apple removed all podcasts associated with Jones from iTunes. On August 13, 2018, Vimeo removed all of Jones' videos because of 'prohibitions on discriminatory and hateful content'. Facebook cited instances of dehumanizing immigrants, Muslims and transgender people, as well as glorification of violence, as examples of hate speech.

Jones' accounts were also removed from Pinterest, Mailchimp and LinkedIn. As of early August 2018, Jones still had active accounts on Instagram, Google+ and Twitter. Jones tweeted a Periscope video calling on others to get their 'battle rifles' ready against antifa, the mainstream media, and Chicom operatives. In the video he also says, 'Now is time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag.' Twitter cited this as the reason to suspend his account for a week in August.

In September, Jones was permanently banned from Twitter and Periscope after berating CNN reporter Oliver Darcy. On September 7, 2018, the InfoWars app was removed from the Apple App Store for 'objectionable content'. He was banned from using PayPal for his business transactions, citing 'hate or discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions.'

InfoWars remained available on Roku devices, in January 2019 a year after its removal from multiple streaming services. Roku indicated that they do not 'curate or censor based on viewpoint,' and that it had policies against content that is 'unlawful, incited illegal activities, or violates third-party rights,' but that InfoWars was not in violation of these policies. Following a social media backlash, they removed InfoWars and stated 'After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform.'

In March 2019, YouTube terminated the Resistance News channel due to reuploading live streams from InfoWars. On May 1, 2019, Jones was barred from using both Facebook and Instagram. Jones briefly moved to Dlive, but was suspended in April 2019 for violating community guidelines.

In March 2020, the InfoWars app was removed from the Google Play Store due to Jones disseminating misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Google spokesperson stated that 'combating misinformation on the Play Store is a top priority for the team' and apps that violate Play policy by 'distributing misleading or harmful information' are removed from the store.

Comedian Joe Rogan attracted controversy for hosting Jones on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, in October 2020. The episode was made available on YouTube and Spotify in spite of Jones' ban from both platforms. Though Rogan fact-checked Jones throughout the course of the interview, he nonetheless faced backlash from critics, who accused Rogan of giving Jones a platform to spread misinformation and validate his views. A YouTube spokesman responded that YouTube reviewed the episode and determined it did not violate the site's guidelines, noting that YouTube bans channels rather than individuals.

Consumer products
A 2017 piece for German magazine Der Spiegel by Veit Medick indicated that two-thirds of Jones' funds derive from sales of a successful range of his own products. These products are marketed through the InfoWars website and through advertising spots on Jones' show. They include dietary supplements, toothpaste, bulletproof vests and 'brain pills,' which hold 'an appeal for anyone who believes Armageddon is near', according to Medick.

In August 2017, Californian medical company Labdoor, Inc reported on tests applied to six of Jones' dietary supplement products. These included a product named Survival Shield, which was found by Labdoor to contain only iodine, and a product named Oxy-Powder, which comprised a compound of magnesium oxide and citric acid—common ingredients in dietary supplements. Labdoor indicated no evidence of prohibited or harmful substances, but cast doubt on Infowars' marketing claims for these products, and asserted that the quantity of the ingredients in certain products would be 'too low to be appropriately effective'.

On a 2017 segment of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver stated that Jones spends 'nearly a quarter' of his on-air time promoting products sold on his website, many of which are purported solutions to medical and economic problems claimed to be caused by the conspiracy theories described on his show.

Jones continued this behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 12, 2020, Jones was issued a cease and desist from the Attorney General of New York, after he claimed, in complete absence of evidence, that products he sold, including colloidal silver toothpaste and dietary supplements, were an effective treatment for COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration also sent him a letter on April 9, 2020, warning that the federal government might proceed to seize the products he was marketing for COVID-19 or fine him if he continued to sell them.

Other activities
When the Oklahoma City bombing took place in 1995, Jones began accusing the federal government of having caused it: 'I understood there's a kleptocracy working with psychopathic governments—clutches of evil that know the tricks of control'. In 1998, he released his first film, America Destroyed by Design.

In 1998, Jones organized a successful campaign to build a new Branch Davidian church, as a memorial to those who died during the 1993 fire that ended the Waco siege of the original Branch Davidian complex near Waco, Texas. He often discussed the project on his public-access television program. He claimed that David Koresh and his followers were peaceful people who were murdered by Attorney General Janet Reno and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms during the siege. In the same year, he was removed from a George W. Bush rally at Bayport Industrial District, Texas. Jones interrupted governor Bush's speech, demanding that the Federal Reserve and Council on Foreign Relations be abolished. Journalist David Weigel, reporting on the incident, said Jones 'seemed to launch into public events as if flung from another universe.'

In early 2000, Jones was one of seven Republican candidates for state representative in Texas House District 48, an open swing district based in Austin, Texas. Jones said that he was running 'to be a watchdog on the inside' but withdrew from the race after a couple of weeks.

On July 15, 2000, Jones infiltrated the Bohemian Grove Cremation of Care, which he called 'a ritualistic shedding of conscience and empath'y and an 'abuse of power'.

On June 8, 2006, while on his way to cover a meeting of the Bilderberg Group in Ottawa, Jones was stopped and detained at the Ottawa airport by Canadian authorities. They confiscated his passport, camera equipment, and most of his belongings. He was later allowed to enter Canada legally. Jones said about his immigration hold: 'I want to say, on the record, it takes two to tango. I could have handled it better.'

On September 8, 2007, Jones was arrested while protesting at 6th Avenue and 48th Street in New York City, when his group crashed a live television show featuring Geraldo Rivera. He was charged with operating a megaphone without a permit, and two other persons were also cited for disorderly conduct. One of Jones' fellow protesters was reported as saying, 'It was ... guerrilla information warfare.'

On January 23, 2018, Jones announced he would be working with author Neil Strauss on his upcoming book, titled The Secret History of the Modern World & the War for the Future.

Views
Political views and activism
Jones has described himself as a conservative, paleoconservative and libertarian, terms he uses interchangeably. Others describe him as conservative, right-wing, alt-right, and far-right. Asked about such labels, Jones said he is 'proud to be listed as a thought criminal against Big Brother'.

In 2016, Jones called then-President Barack Obama a demon, 'like Hillar'y. Jones is also a major proponent of the conspiracy theory that Michelle Obama is transgender, with much of his apparent proof being pictures of Obama where it appears she has a bulge in her pants, and a video clip where Barack Obama calls her 'Michael'. Jones has claimed that the election of Joe Biden is part of a plot by the deep state and the globalists to bring about 'the takedown of America'.

Gun rights
Jones is a vocal gun rights advocate. MTV labeled him a 'staunch Second Amendment supporter', while the London Daily Telegraph called him a 'gun-nut'.

In January 2013, Jones was invited to speak on Piers Morgan's CNN show after promoting an online petition to deport Morgan because of his support of gun control. In the ensuing debate with Morgan, he stated that '1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms'. Jones was referencing the American Revolutionary War in relation to theoretical gun control measures taken by the government. He has been reported to own around 50 firearms. According to The Huffington Post, Morgan and others such as Glenn Beck said they 'agreed that Jones was a terrible spokesman for gun rights'.

Relationship with Donald Trump
In December 2015, Jones says he initially 'formed a bond' with Donald Trump, after the presidential candidate appeared on The Alex Jones Show, with Trump stating 'Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.' During the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton criticized Trump for his ties to Jones.

He indicated his support for Trump during the presidential campaign in 2016, also denouncing Trump's rival Hillary Clinton, whilst running a campaign attacking her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as a rapist. He designed a T-shirt, ran another 'get on MSM' competition and even gate-crashed The Young Turks set at the RNC, whilst displaying the T-shirt, resulting in a physical altercation with Cenk Uygur. Jones said that Trump called him on the day after the election to thank him for his help in the campaign. Following the 2016 Republican National Convention, Jones wanted Ted Cruz to be removed from his Senate seat after he failed to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican presidential candidate. Potential primary challengers Katrina Pierson and Dan Patrick were discussed as replacement Republican candidates for the 2018 Texas election for Senate.

In April 2018, Jones publicly criticized President Trump during a livestream, after Trump announced a military strike against Syria. During the stream, Jones also stated that Trump had not called him during the prior six months. A leaked interview of Jones in January 2019 expressing displeasure over his relationship with Trump was released by the Southern Poverty Law Center in March 2021, with Jones stating 'I wish I never would have fucking met Trump ... I'm so sick of fucking Donald Trump, man. God, I'm fucking sick of him.' Nevertheless, he backed the president during his re-election campaign in 2020 and called on demonstrations to be held on the premise the election had been 'rigged' against Trump.

Relation to the 2021 Capitol attack
Jones partially funded and raised other funds to finance the January 6, 2021 Trump rally in Washington that preceded the 2021 United States Capitol attack. Jones attended the January 5 and 6 rallies at the capitol. On January 5, he was a scheduled speaker at the March to Save America and said, 'We have only begun to resist the globalists. We have only begun our fight against their tyranny. They have tried to steal this election in front of everyone.' And 'I don't know how this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they've got one,' Jones said that night, according to the same video.

The next day, Wednesday, January 6, at a gathering in Lafayette Park north of the Capitol, he addressed the crowd with a bullhorn, and stated that he had seen 'over a hundred' members of antifa in the crowd, a baseless assertion other Trump supporters had also made, even though the FBI has said there was no evidence of antifa involvement. The same day, a video of Jones was posted InfoWars, in which he is recorded saying 'We declare 1776 against the new world order.... We need to understand we're under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war-footing...'. In the same video, before setting off toward the Capitol building, Jones told the crowd: 'We're here to take our rightful country back peacefully, because we're not globalist, antifa criminals. So let's start marching, and I salute you all.' When rioters attacked the Capitol, Jones called on them to stop. 'Let's not fight the police and give the system what they want,' he said.

In February 2021, The Washington Post reported that the FBI was investigating any role Jones might have played in influencing the participation of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers in the incursion. Jones had previously hosted leaders of the two groups on his programs. Some members of the groups had been indicted for conspiracy in the incident.

Other
In 2009, Jones claimed that a convicted con man's scheme to take over a long-vacant, would-be for-profit prison in Hardin, Montana was part of a FEMA plot to detain US citizens in concentration camps, relating to the New World Order conspiracy theory.

On June 9, 2013, Jones appeared as a guest on the BBC's Sunday Politics, discussing conspiracy theories about the Bilderberg Group, with presenter Andrew Neil and journalist David Aaronovitch. Aaronovitch implied that, since Jones had not been killed for exposing conspiracies, they either do not exist or that Jones is a part of them himself. Jones began shouting and interrupting, and Neil ended the interview, describing Jones as 'an idiot' and 'the worst person I've ever interviewed'. According to Neil on Twitter, Jones was still shouting until he knew that he was off-air.

Jones was in a 'media crossfire' in 2011, which included criticism by Rush Limbaugh, when the news spread that Jared Lee Loughner, the perpetrator of the 2011 Tucson shooting, had been 'a fan' of the 9/11 conspiracy film Loose Change of which Jones had been an executive producer.

Jones has promoted the white genocide conspiracy theory. Media Matters covered his claim that NFL players protesting during the national anthem were 'kneeling to white genocide' and violence against whites, which the SPLC featured in their headlines review. On October 2, 2017, Jones claimed that Democrats and communists were plotting imminent 'white genocide' attacks. His reporting and public views on the topic have received support and coverage from white nationalist publications and groups, such as the AltRight Corporation and the New Zealand National Front.

Jones has repeatedly made hateful comments towards the LGBT community. In 2010, he claimed that 'The reason there's so many gay people now is because it's a chemical warfare operation, and I have the government documents where they said they're going to encourage homosexuality with chemicals so that people don't have children'. In 2018, Jones threatened to come after drag performers with torches 'like the villagers in the night'.

Jones is known for both his opposition to vaccines, and his views on vaccine controversies. On June 16, 2017, Vox covered his claim that the introduction of the Sesame Street character Julia, an autistic Muppet, was 'designed to normalize autism, a disorder caused by vaccines.' On November 20, 2017, The New Yorker quoted Jones as claiming InfoWars was 'defending people's right to not be forcibly infected with vaccines'. Critics argue that he endangers 'children by convincing their parents that vaccines are dangerous.' Jones has specifically disputed the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccines. After Donald Trump recommended at an August 2021 rally that people choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Jones said that Trump was either lying or 'not that bright' and 'a dumbass'.

Jones believes that global warming is a hoax made up by the World Bank to control the world economy through a carbon tax. Mother Jones has said that Jones is a believer in weather weapons, and Salon has covered his claim 'that the president has access to weather weapons capable of not only creating tornadoes but also moving them around, on demand'. His belief in weather warfare has been reported by mainstream media. He has claimed that Hurricane Irma may have been geo-engineered.

While Jones initially supported QAnon, Right Wing Watch reported that he had ceased to support QAnon by May 2018, declaring the source 'completely compromised'. In 2021, after the Capitol attack, Jones denounced believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory on InfoWars.

In April 2017, Jones was criticized for claiming that the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack was a hoax and false flag. Jones stated that the attack was potentially carried out by civil defense group White Helmets, which he claims are an Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist front financed by George Soros.

Jones has spread conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting being false flag operations by gun control advocates. He stated 'no one died' in Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas survivor David Hogg was a crisis actor. These claims have been proven false.

Litigation
Sandy Hook lawsuits
In March 2018, six families of Sandy Hook victims, and an FBI agent who responded to the attack, filed a defamation suit against Jones for spreading false claims, resulting in the harassment, stalking and threatening of survivors. By February 2019, ten families joined suits and won a series of court rulings requiring Jones to testify under oath. Jones was later ordered to undergo a sworn deposition, along with three other defendants related to the operation of Infowars. He was also ordered to turn over internal business documents related to Infowars. In this deposition, Jones acknowledged the deaths were real, stating he had 'almost like a form of psychosis', where he 'basically thought everything was staged.'

Leonard Pozner, father of a victim in the Sandy Hook shooting, who has been forced to move several times to avoid harassment and death threats, was accused by Jones of being a crisis actor. Pozner filed a defamation suit against Jones in Texas. Jones was found to be in contempt of court even before the trial started, failing to produce witnesses and materials relevant to the procedures. Consequently, Jones and Infowars were fined a total of $126,000 in October and December 2019.

On January 22, 2021, the Texas Supreme Court threw out an appeal by Jones that four lawsuits from the families of the Sandy Hook shootings for defamation and distress be dismissed. The court allowed the judgments of two lower courts to stand without comment, allowing the lawsuits to continue. On April 5, 2021, the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal against a Connecticut court sanction in the defamation lawsuit.

On September 27, 2021 a district judge in Texas issued three default judgments against Jones, requiring him to pay all damages in two lawsuits that had been filed against him in 2018 by the families of two children killed at Sandy Hook. These rulings came after Jones repeatedly failed to hand over documents and evidence as ordered by the court, which the judge characterized as 'flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules.'

Other lawsuits
In February 2017, James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, sent Jones a letter demanding an apology and retraction of his advocacy for the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Jones was given one month to comply or be subject to a libel suit. In March 2017, Jones apologized to Alefantis and retracted his allegations.

In April 2017, the Chobani yogurt company filed suit against Jones for his claims that their factory in Idaho employing refugees, was connected to a 2016 child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis. As a result, Jones issued an apology and retraction of his allegations in May 2017.

In March 2018, Brennan Gilmore, who shared a video he captured of a car hitting anti-racism protesters at the 2017 Unite the Right rally, filed a lawsuit against Jones and six others. According to the lawsuit, Jones said that Gilmore was acting as part of a false flag operation conducted by disgruntled government 'deep state' employees promoting a coup against Trump. Gilmore alleged he received death threats from Jones' audience.

Personal life
Jones has three children with ex-wife Kelly Jones. The couple divorced in March 2015. Jones remarried Erika Wulff Jones in 2017 and has another child with her. In 2017, Kelly sought sole or joint custody of their children due to her ex-husband's behavior. She claimed 'he's not a stable person' and 'I'm concerned that he is engaged in felonious behavior, threatening a member of Congress' . His attorney responded by claiming that 'he's playing a character' and describing him as a 'performance artist'. On his show, Jones denied playing a character and he called his show 'the most bona fide, hard-core, real McCoy thing there is, and everybody knows it'. In court, Jones clarified that he generally agreed with his attorney's statement, but that he disagreed with the media's interpretation of the term 'performance artist'. Kelly was awarded the right to decide where their children live while he maintains visitation rights. In April 2020, a state district judge denied an emergency motion by Kelly to secure custody of their daughters for the next two weeks after Jones led a rally at the Capitol, where he was mobbed by unmasked supporters and called COVID-19 a hoax.

His son, Rex Jones, has worked for InfoWars, receiving media attention for a video which was critical of gun control and BuzzFeed News. On March 10, 2020, Jones was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas. The Travis County jail in Austin confirmed that Jones was charged with DWI, a class B misdemeanor. Authorities said he was booked at 12:37 a.m. and was later released at 4:11 a.m. 'on a personal recognizance bond'.