The verdict is the second major verdict against the Infowars host for his relentless propagation of the lie that the 2012 massacre never happened.
WATERBURY, Connecticut — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should pay $965 million to people who suffered from his false claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, a Connecticut jury ruled Wednesday.
The verdict is the second major verdict against the Infowars host for his relentless propagation of the lie that the 2012 massacre never happened and that the grieving families seen on the news were actors hired as part of a conspiracy were made to take away the guns from the people.
A lawsuit ensued, filed by the families of five children and three educators killed in the mass shooting, and an FBI agent who was among the first responders at the scene. A Texas jury awarded in August nearly $50 million to the parents of another child who was killed.
The Connecticut trial included tearful testimonies from the victims’ parents and siblings, who recounted how they were threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies told on Jones’ show.
Strangers would show up at their homes to take them in. People have hurled offensive comments on social media. Erica Lafferty, the daughter of murdered Sandy Hook director Dawn Hochsprung, testified that people sent rape threats to her home. Mark Barden told how conspiracy theorists urinated on the grave of his 7-year-old son Daniel and threatened to dig up the coffin.
Testifying at the trial, Jones admitted he was wrong about Sandy Hook. the shoot was real, he said. But both in the courtroom and on his show, he was defiant.
He called the trial a “kangaroo court,” mocked the judge, called the plaintiffs’ attorney an ambulance chaser, and called the case an assault on the right to free speech. He claimed it was a conspiracy by Democrats and the media to silence him and put him out of business.
“I’ve said ‘I’m sorry’ hundreds of times and I’m tired of saying it,” he said during his testimony.
Twenty children and six adults died the shoot on December 14, 2012. The libel trial took place at a courthouse in Waterbury, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Newtown, where the attack took place.
The lawsuit accused Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, of using mass murder to build its audience and make millions of dollars. Experts said Jones’ audience swelled when he made Sandy Hook a topic on the show, as did his revenue from product sales.
In both the Texas and Connecticut lawsuits, judges found the company liable for damages after Jones failed to cooperate with court rules on the exchange of evidence, including failing to release records that could have shown whether Infowars knowingly Spreading misinformation had benefited about mass killings.
Having already been found liable, Jones was barred from mentioning freedom of expression and other issues during his testimony.
Later in the year, Jones now faces a third trial in Texas in a lawsuit filed by the parents of another child killed in the shooting.
It’s unclear how much of the judgments Jones can pay. At the Texas trial, he testified that he could not afford a $2 million verdict. Free Speech Systems has filed for bankruptcy Protection. But an economist testified in the Texas trial that Jones and his company were valued at up to $270 million.
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/jury-indicates-verdict-reached-in-alex-jones-trial/507-4c147879-1d63-4e03-baf8-2a4749d9563f Verdict reached in Alex Jones trial