AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claimed his company paid for the rally that preceded the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Jones explained his role in a video posted a day after unprecedented violence at the Capitol when a pro-Trump mob stormed the building to disrupt proceedings to formalize the presidential election results. The riot lead to evacuation of lawmakers, more than 50 arrests and five deaths. Supporters had gathered nearby for two days of Trump rallies before a march to the Capitol turned into a riot.
Multiple photos from the day show Jones, the founder of right-wing media group Infowars, addressing crowds of Trump supporters on a bullhorn, or standing in a crowd. He also spoke at a Trump rally on Freedom Plaza on Jan. 5.
In the Jan. 7 video filmed in Washington, D.C, Jones claimed he was asked by the White House to lead the march to the Capitol three days prior to the event.
In the video, Jones said the Secret Service would pull him out of the front row during the president’s speech, about 30 minutes before it ended, so he could go to the place where he would start the march. Jones said he ultimately did not end up leading the march because there was already a crowd ahead of him.
Jones also said he paid close to $500,000 dollars to book the Ellipse, the park where President Donald Trump’s supporters initially gathered, and other areas near the Capitol. He said 80% of the money came from an unnamed donor.
“By the time I got out there 20 minutes, 30 minutes before Trump finished his speech there were already hundreds of thousands of people ahead of me marching. And before Trump ever took the stage, antifa, dressed up — over a hundred of them — as patriots, was there,” he said, falsely claiming without evidence that “antifa” followers disguised as “patriots” were also in the crowd.
The baseless theory has been suggested by some of Trump’s supporters and media. The FBI said there is no indication that followers of far-left antifa, short for “antifascists,” were in the crowd.
Jones said the crowd wanted a 10-day emergency investigation into votes in battleground states and was supposed to gather on the other side of the Capitol. He said when he got to the Capitol he saw smoke bombs, tear gas, and people climbing walls, and told people to stop so the events didn’t end the debate over the investigation.
The FBI is seeking information in identifying individuals who stoked violence that led to the Capitol riot.
Requests for comments sent to representatives for Jones were not immediately returned Saturday.
©2021 Gannett Co., Inc. Visit at statesman.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.