For lying about Sandy Hook, Alex Jones was ordered to pay $965 million.
A jury in Connecticut concluded on Wednesday that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay $965 million to those who were harmed by his false assertion that the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a fabrication.
The ruling is the second significant judgment against the Infowars host stemming from his steadfast support of the myths that the 2012 massacre never occurred and that the distraught relatives depicted in news reports were hired actors in a scheme to confiscate firearms.
It was revealed in a lawsuit brought by the families of an FBI agent who was among the first responders at the scene, five children, three educators, and one other person murdered in the horrific shooting. The parents of another murdered kid received a nearly $50 million verdict from a Texas jury in August.
Following the reading of the judgement, some plaintiffs hugged in the courtroom. Jones wasn't there, but on his Infowars program, split-screen live video from the court was broadcast.
“Hey, folks, don’t go buying big homes,” he said.
The trial featured emotional testimony from the victims' parents and siblings, who described how they had endured years of harassment and threats from those who had bought into the lies Jones had spread.
They were being recorded at their residences by strangers. On social media, insulting comments were made. The murdered Sandy Hook school administrator Dawn Hochsprung's daughter, Erica Lafferty, claimed that she received rape threats in the mail. The burial of Mark Barden's son Daniel, age 7, was urinated on by conspiracy theorists, who also threatened to remove the coffin, according to Mark Barden.
Jones admitted during testimony that he had been mistaken about Sandy Hook. He asserted that the shooting was actual. He was, however, obstinate both in the courtroom and on his show.
He criticized the judge, referred to the plaintiffs' attorney as an ambulance chaser, and referred to the proceedings as a "kangaroo court," calling the lawsuit an infringement on the right to free speech. He asserted that there was an effort to silence him and destroy his business by Democrats and the media.
During his testimony, he remarked, "I've already said 'I'm sorry,' hundreds of times, and I'm done saying I'm sorry."
The incident on December 14, 2012 resulted in the deaths of 20 children and 6 adults. A courthouse in Waterbury, roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Newtown, where the attack happened, hosted the defamation trial.
The lawsuit claimed that Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent business of Infowars, utilized the mass murder to increase their viewership and generate millions of dollars. Experts testified that Jones' audience and revenue from product sales increased when he made Sandy Hook a theme on the show.
Jones disobeyed court rules regarding the exchange of evidence, including failing to turn over records that might have revealed whether Infowars had intentionally profited from disseminating false information about mass killings, and judges in both the Texas lawsuit and the one in Connecticut found the company liable for damages by default.
Jones was unable to speak about other subjects, such as free speech rights, because he had already been found guilty.
In a lawsuit brought by the parents of a different kid slain in the incident, Jones will now stand trial for a third time in Texas before the end of the year.
How much of the verdicts Jones can afford to pay is unknown. He provided testimony during the Texas trial that he was unable to pay any judgment above $2 million. A bankruptcy petition has been made by Free Speech Systems. However, an economist claimed that Alex Jones net worth up to $270 million during the Texas trial.