A Texas jury awarded more than $4 million to the parents of one of the victims of the fatal shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in a damages trial for “InfoWars” host Alex Jones. The conspiracy theorist and far-right broadcaster was previously held responsible for defamation In a default ruling issued by District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble on your false claims 2012 shooting The comments were “a hoax” made repeatedly over the past decade.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was one of 20 children and six adults killed during the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, sued Jones and his media company Kia, Free Speech System, in 2018. The couple originally sought at least $150 million in compensatory damages. Juries first voted to determine how much Jones should be ordered to pay, and arrived at more than $4 million. They will discuss it again to decide whether an additional award for punitive damages is awarded to Heslin and Lewis, and if they are, what that number will be.
Judge Guerra Gamble, who presided over the defamation suit brought against Jones in Texas, issued a rare default judgment Last fall that found Jones and InfoWars liable for defamation and emotional distress. The judge’s orders cited the harassment that the Heslin, Lewis and other families of the Sandy Hook victims endured in addition to the defendant’s “manifest bad faith and blatant disregard” as a direct result of their allegations about the shooting at the hands of Jones’ followers. did. Court procedure during the hearing.
The Sandy Hook tragedy is one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. Jones admitted in court Wednesday that he knew “It’s 100% real.”
But over the years Jones claimed that the shooting was “staged”, a “false flag” designed with the intention of increasing gun control, with “crisis actors” being treated as the grieving family members of the victims. was. He publicized these allegations on his Infowars website, which has stories and videos promoting foreign conspiracy theories and is widely considered a “fake news” machine. The site has published, and in many instances retracted, several apparently false stories other than those related to the Sandy Hook massacre. Jones has faced several lawsuits—including some filed by other families of Sandy Hook victims—as well as allegations of discrimination and sexual assault.
Court records show that Jones earned more than $165 million selling items such as survivalist gear and dietary supplements on Infowars between 2015 and 2018.
Free Speech Systems, the parent company of Infowars based in Austin, Texas, filed for federal bankruptcy protection Last week. On Tuesday, Jones was scolded by a court judge for telling a jury that he had followed pre-trial evidence-gathering protocol and went bankrupt, when the latter had yet to be determined.
Jones lost several defamation cases by default last year. Lawsuits brought by the families of Sandy Hook victims in Texas and Connecticut allege that Jones was abused over the years by his followers in what he described as a “huge hoax.” A group of families involved in a lawsuit have also accused them of withdrawing money from the free speech system before filing for bankruptcy.
both heslin and lewis witness stand taken at the Austin trial this week and testified how Jones’ attempts to spread lies about the mass shooting made his life “a living hell.” The parents said that those who believed in her claims about the conspirator and Sandy Hook continued to harass and threaten her, both verbally and physically. He reminded people to shoot at his house and car and send him threatening emails.
“I can’t even describe the last nine-and-a-half years, the living hell that I and others have suffered because of Alex Jones’ carelessness and recklessness,” Heslin said.
“It’s fear for your life,” Lewis said. “You didn’t know what they were going to do.”
Jones appeared in court on Tuesday, allowing the plaintiffs to address him in person.
“I wanted to tell you to my face. … I’m a mother, first and foremost, and I know you’re a father. And my son existed,” Lewis said of Jones on InfoWars. Citing comments suggested that she was an actor in the face of some sort of government scheme. As Lewis noted, Jones continued to promote the idea on his series of talks, as did the recent morning before the debate closed.
Lewis told Jones, “You’re still trying to say on your show today that, I’m an actress, that I’m in a deep state. You have this week. And I don’t get it.” “Truth – Truth is very important to our world. Truth is what we base our reality on and we have to agree on that in order to have a civil society. Sandy Hook is a hard truth.”
“Jesse was real. I’m a real mom,” she said. “… I know you know this, and that’s the problem.”