Alex Jones Must Pay Sandy Hook Families $1 Billion For His Lies

A Connecticut jury decided on Wednesday that Alex Jones, a far-right talk show host, should pay $965 million in compensatory damages to the families of eight Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims and one first responder, capping a wrenching trial that put on display the serious harm caused by the conspiracy theorist’s lies.

Jones’ Infowars media empire, which has been at the center of significant conspiracy theories dating back to the era of former President George W. Bush and was welcomed by President Donald Trump, might be shrunk or even doomed by the decision’s severe award.

Alex Jones Must Pay Sandy Hook Families $1 Billion For His Lies
Alex Jones Must Pay Sandy Hook Families $1 Billion For His Lies

When the jury’s decision was read, both the plaintiffs and their attorneys showed obvious signs of emotion. This ruling is a major step in the multi-year legal battle that began in 2018 when the families sued Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, the parent company of the controversial news website Infowars.

After the 2012 mass shooting, in which 26 people were killed, Jones repeatedly claimed, without any evidence, that the shooting had been staged and that the victims’ families and first responders were “crisis actors.” Throughout the trial, the plaintiffs spoke movingly about how the lies had resulted in relentless harassment and added emotional misery to the loss of loved ones.

Family members of eight school students and employees, as well as an FBI agent who responded to the site, participated in the trial as plaintiffs. This trial served as a hearing for all three matters.

Jones did not attend the verdict’s announcement. He criticized the verdict on his Infowars show and utilized it as a fundraising opportunity while streaming live as the judge read the verdict in court.

There is no telling how much, if any, of the settlement the plaintiffs will actually receive. Jones stated on Wednesday’s broadcast that there “ain’t no money” to pay the enormous sum the jury granted the plaintiffs and that he would be appealing the judgment.

One of the plaintiff’s lawyers, Christopher Mattei, asked the jury for at least $500 million, saying that his clients’ lives had been irreparably damaged. He said the number represented the over 550 million times the Sandy Hook falsehood spread online thanks to Jones.

You might call that astronomical. That’s right,” Mattei agreed. Alex Jones has only himself to blame for this. It’s exactly what he designed and constructed. In order to spread these falsehoods, he constructed a lying machine. Indeed, “you get back in life what you put into it.”

As soon as the jury reached its decision, Mattei congratulated them.

Mattei told reporters outside the courthouse, “The jury’s verdict is a testament to that courage, in a resounding affirmation that people of goodwill, dedicated to the truth, mindful of their responsibilities to their fellow citizens can come together to protect the innocent, to reveal lies masquerading as truth, and to set right a historic wrong.”

A second jury in Texas decided two months prior that Jones and his firm owed roughly $50 million to the parents of Sandy Hook students who sued in that state. The court in that case will decide later this month whether or not to lessen the punitive penalties ordered under Texas law.

Due of the mounting legal pressure, Jones eventually admitted that the slaughter had taken place in 2012. The families in both the Connecticut and Texas lawsuits won default judgments against him because he disobeyed court orders during the discovery phase of the cases.

Families of the Sandy Hook victims testified at the most recent trial, describing in frightening detail how Jones’ lies about the shooting had changed their lives and added misery to the grief they already felt.

Jones, who was cross-examined by the plaintiffs’ lawyers but ultimately decided not to testify in his own defense, attempted to paint himself as the victim of a sophisticated “deep state” scheme.

Jones got into an argument with a plaintiff’s attorney, accused him of “ambulance chasing,” and then went on a tirade in court about “liberals” that caused a stir.

During Jones’s testimony, the presiding judge cautioned him on multiple occasions and even threatened to find him in contempt of court if he continued to disobey her orders.

Jones has been critical of the court system, even admitting in court that he had labeled the trial a “kangaroo court” and the judge a “tyrant.” He’s already made it clear he intends to file an appeal.

 

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