Conspiracy theorist, falsehoods promoter for profit, and Infowars founder Alex Jones will have to pay families of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting at least $965 million in damages after a jury returned a unanimous verdict in a consolidated case. Jones for years had falsely claimed the 20 young children and six adults slaughtered while in their elementary school were “crisis actors.”
The Associated Press reported the total damages, which include amounts for emotional distress and slander. He will also have to pay attorneys fees, which will be awarded by the judge later.
Attorney Paul Butler said on MSNBC the punitive damages are about sending a message about the depravity here, and try to measure in dollars the depravity in such that anybody else who’s thinking about spreading lies like this can’t hide behind the First Amendment.”
MSNBC also reports Jones has gone back to denying the fact that Sandy Hook was a mass shooting, reporting he has recently said it is “synthetic as hell.”
CNN reports the “decision marks the culmination of a years-long process that began in 2018 when the families took legal action against Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, the parent of the fringe media organization Infowars.”
“Jones baselessly said again and again after the 2012 mass shooting, in which 26 people were killed, that the incident was staged, and that the families and first responders were ‘crisis actors.’ The plaintiffs throughout the trial described in poignant terms how the lies had prompted unrelenting harassment against them and compounded the emotional agony of losing their loved ones.”
Jones has reportedly made millions off his false claims.
Earlier at trial Jones told the court he was “done” apologizing, and claimed that he believed the false “crisis actor” claims he had made.
Jones was not in the courtroom as the damages were being read, but NBC’s Ben Collins reports on his radio show he said, “This must be what Hell’s like, they just read out the damages. Even though you don’t got the money.”
Jones also vowed, said, according to Collins, “We’re not going away, we’re not going to stop.”
The verdict is in: InfoWars’ Alex Jones owes the families of Sandy Hook victims about $1 billion for defamation.
Here are the full eight minutes of the verdict. pic.twitter.com/0z6xaMRDY0
— The Recount (@therecount) October 12, 2022