Image source: Reuters
School shootings are undoubtedly a tragedy, but conspiracy theorist Alex Jones did the unthinkable when he claimed the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was a staged “hoax.”
As a result, the parents filed a libel suit against Jones.
The result forces Alex Jones to pay $ 4.1 million in damages.
Alex Jones is an alt-right conspiracy theorist who has accused the government of orchestrating the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks.
The most despicable theory of him, however, is that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged in 2012.
“Sandy Hook is a synthetic. Completely fake with actors, in my view. Manufactured,” he said in a 2015 edition of the radio show.
“I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids.”
“It just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors.”
The recent trial marks the first time that Jone has been financially punished for his repeated lies.
Previously, the conspiracy theorist described the lawsuits and proceedings against him as “a Constitution-destroying, absolute, total, and complete travesty.”
Meanwhile, the parents who successfully sued him have described his statements as something so wrong that it is outside the constitution-protected discussions.
Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, the estranged parents of six-year-old Jesse Lewis, one of 20 children killed in the massacre, have spoken out about the two-week libel trial.
The punitive damages are intended to prevent Jones from repeating his offense.
“We ask that you send a very, very simple message, and this is: Stop Alex Jones,” a lawyer for the plaintiff said in court on Friday.
“Stop the monetization of misinformation and lies. Please.”
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Lewis and Heslin said they experienced harassment and emotional distress because of the misinformation spread by Jones.
As a result, they are seeking $150 million in damages to cover costs incurred in defaming the conspiracy theorist, including the private security guards they hired during the trial for fear of being attacked by a future supporter of Jones.
Two weeks ago, an economist hired by Lewis and Heslin, Alex Jones, said his media brand Infowars and parent company Free Speech Systems were together worth $270 million.
Bernard Pettingill told the court that Jones withdrew $62 million from his contract last year due to growing legal troubles.
“That number represents, in my opinion, a value of a net worth,” said Pettingill.
“He’s got money put in a bank account somewhere.”
During the first of the two-week process, Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy protection.
Additionally, the lawsuit was notified that Jones’s company made $ 800,000 in one day by selling dietary supplements, armor, and survival gear.
Lewis and Heslin’s lawyers accused him of attempting to hide the evidence and claimed he committed perjury after denying sending messages about the Sandy Hook massacre.
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Last week, a Lewis and Heslin attorney revealed that Jones’s legal representative accidentally shared two years of his phone messages.
He said the Congressional committee investigating the 2021 Capitol riots requested access to the messages while investigating his alleged role.
The libel case is the first of three against Alex Jones by the families of the Sandy Hook victims.
He has lost a number of defamation cases for failing to provide documents and testimony.
The latter case is the first in which a jury has accepted damages.
The controversial radio host made a brief appearance on Friday but was absent from the last sentencing hearing.
Jones and his platform
Although the conspiracy theorist withdrew his claims about Sandy Hook, Alex Jones continued to use his media platform to claim that the case was rigged against him.
He said the judges “don’t know which planet they are on”.
Jones’s Infowars website also featured the judge consumed by flames. His antics led to a reprimand from the judge, who told him, “This is not your show.”
Following the verdict, Jones posted a video claiming his net worth was a fraction of what was said in court, denouncing the trial as “beyond any kangaroo-rigged court ever.”
Alex Jones must pay $49.3m for Sandy Hook hoax claim
Alex Jones ordered to pay $49.3m in total damages over false Sandy Hook conspiracy theories