Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ordered to pay another $45m to parents of Sandy Hook victim

US

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been ordered to pay another $45.2m (£37.4m) to the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim, a jury has ruled.

He was ordered to pay $4.1m (£3.3m) in damages by a jury on Thursday to the parents of six-year-old Jesse Lewis, who was killed in the school massacre in 2012.

Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis successfully sued Jones and his media company, Free Speech Systems, for defamation in October 2021.

The Infowars radio programme host had repeatedly claimed the deadliest school shooting in US history was a hoax and staged by gun-control activists using actors.

Twenty children and six adults were shot dead by gunman Adam Lanza, who then killed himself.

Jones has now been ordered to pay $45.2m in punitive damages by a jury in Texas, though this is lower than the $75m (£62m) the family had requested before the ruling.

Punitive damages are those over and above the basic compensation amount, designed to punish the defendant.

Read more:
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Sandy Hook parents tell Infowars founder he has made their lives a ‘living hell’

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Jury reaches verdict in Alex Jones defamation trial

Mistrial motion denied within hours

On Thursday, Jones filed a motion for a mistrial, but the judge in Texas denied the request.

During the trial to determine the amount of damages the parents should be awarded, Jones admitted the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was “100% real“.

However, Mr Heslin and Ms Lewis told jurors an apology would not suffice, and called on them to make Jones pay for the years of suffering he has put them and other Sandy Hook families through.

Kyle Farrar, one of the parents’ lawyers, said on Thursday they were “very pleased with the verdict”.

Mark Bankston, another of their team, had accused Jones in court of approaching the trial in bad faith, citing broadcasts where he said the trial was rigged against him.

He showed a video of Jones saying in his broadcast that the jury pool was full of people who “don’t know what planet they’re on”.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble reprimanded Jones on Tuesday for not telling the truth under oath after he falsely told the court he was bankrupt and had complied with discovery in the case.

Lawyers for Jones have not yet commented on the outcome.

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