Conservative radio host Alex Jones defends himself amid custody battle

A lawyer for an influential right wing conspiracy theorist made a startling claim in court recently during a child custody case: He said the radio rants of Alex Jones are just an act.

Among Jones’ outrageous claims? That the terrorist attacks on 9/11 was an “inside job.”

“The whole thing is a black hole of lies,” he said on his radio show in March of last year. In 2014 he called the Newtown massacre -- where Adam Lanza killed 20 children -- “fake.”

“The official story of Sandy Hook has more holes in it than Swiss cheese,” Jones said in a November broadcast.

Yet his radio and “Infowars” Internet videos have drawn millions of fans, including a certain New Yorker.

“And on my way here Donald Trump gave me a call,” Jones said.

“Your reputation is amazing,” then-candidate Donald Trump said in December 2015. “I will not let you down.  You will be very very impressed, I hope.”

Not only that, President Trump has echoed some of Jones’ claims, says New York Times media writer Jim Rutenberg.

“When President Trump said that the mainstream press is covering up terrorist attacks to cover up for Islamists, that was directly out of Alex Jones. When President-elect Trump raised the possibility that some 3 million people voted illegally, that had been on ‘Infowars.’”

But now his own lawyer suggests Jones shouldn’t be taken at his word.

His comments came during Jones’ custody battle over his kids, according to one report, his attorney Randall Wilhite said that Jones is “playing a character” on his radio show -- that he’s actually “a performance artist.”

Today, Jones defended himself this way: “I am an actor, we’re all actors, but I believe in what I stand for.”

But Rutenberg says questions about Jones could raise some for Mr. Trump, too.

“We have never seen a president embrace a conspiracy theorist like Alex Jones before, let alone talk to him on the phone or mimic some of the reporting from said conspiracy theorist,” he says.

CBS News reached out to Jones for comment but his lawyer told us they are prevented from speaking by a gag order in the custody case.