INFOWARS host Alex Jones sparked outrage following his remarks about the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
As a result, he was found legally responsible in two lawsuits for damages caused by his claims according to recent court documents.
GettyAlex Jones is known as an American far-right radio show host and conspiracy theorist[/caption]
Who is Alex Jones?
Alex Jones, 48, is known as a far-right radio show host and conspiracy theorist.
New York Magazine once described him as “America’s leading conspiracy theorist” while Southern Poverty Law Center added that he is the most “prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America.”
A Dallas, Texas native, Jones is known for his baseless warnings about terrorist attacks and has called tragic events such as 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the 2013 Washington Navy Yard mass murder, “operations” that have come from our own government.
His radio show has millions of followers and it was later revealed that Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was among his listeners.
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What did Alex Jones say about the Sandy Hook Shooting?
The 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was one of the deadliest school shootings in American history.
The shooter killed 26 people at the school, 20 of whom were children, before killing himself.
Over the years, Jones has been known for falsely claiming the event was a “giant hoax” that was carried out by actors who oppose the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
As a result, the families of the victims sued Jones for defamation in both Texas and Connecticut courts.
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On September 30, 2021, CNN reported that Jones lost two more lawsuits after Judge Maya Guerra Gamble determined he was legally responsible for damages.
“The Court finds that Defendants’ failure to comply…is greatly aggravated by [their] consistent pattern of discovery abuse throughout similar cases pending before this Court,” the Texas judge wrote in a statement.
“The Court finds that Defendants’ discovery conduct in this case is the result of flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules.”
In 2019, according to a sworn deposition, Jones had acknowledged the events were real and claimed he suffered from “a form of psychosis” which made him question if they were.
Following the decision, Jones and Infowars attorney Norm Pattis issued a statement slamming the judge’s decision.
“The trial court’s entry of a default in these cases is stunning,” the statement read.
“It takes no account of the tens of thousands of documents produced by the defendants, the hours spent sitting for depositions and the various sworn statements filed in these cases.”
In November 2021, a Connecticut judge found Jones and the other defendants liable for defamation.
Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis cited the defendants’ “willful noncompliance” with the discovery process as the reasoning behind the ruling reported NPR.
GettyOn September 30, 2021, it was revealed that Jones lost two lawsuits related to his comments about the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting[/caption]
On August 2, 2022, the parents of Sandy Hook victim, 6-year-old Jesse Lewis confronted Jones’ about his “dangerous” propaganda.
According to CNN, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis are asking for $150million for the “hell” Jones inflicted on them and their family.
“There’s got to be a strong deterrent that shall prevent him from peddling this propaganda,” Heslin said in his testimony.
He wants “to restore my credibility, my reputation, and Jesse’s legacy that he so much deserves.”
“My life has been threatened,” Heslin added. “I fear for my life. I fear for my safety and my family’ safety and their life.”
Jones, on the other hand, told Heslin and Lewis from the stand: “I never intentionally tried to hurt you.”
Jones said “the internet had a lot of questions” in regard to the Sandy Hook shooting and so he simply “tried to find out what actually happened.”
What was the judge’s ruling?
The jury ruled that Jones would have to pay $4million in compensatory damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook victim on August 4, 2022.
“Speech is free, but lies you have to pay for,” the family attorney argued in court.
Heslin told the jury that Jones had “tarnished the honor and legacy” of his son and he couldn’t “even begin to describe the last nine-and-a-half years of hell” he has endured.
The payment is far less than what plaintiffs Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin had asked for with the original request in the amount of $150million.
The jury’s decision ended a four-year process in which Jones was charged with spreading conspiracy theories that the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax.
Lewis told the jury that requiring Jones to pay monetary damages was appropriate in this case because it might be a driving force for him to cease expelling conspiracy theories.
“There has not been a sincere apology,” she said. “But if there was, ever, I liken it to being in a car accident and you run over someone and cause tremendous bodily damage and you look at that person lying on the ground and say, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m not accountable for any of the damage I just caused. But I’m sorry.’ That’s how I see it.”
The jury asked Jones how he would show the families of the Sandy Hook victims that he was truly sorry.
“If you are genuinely sorry and regretful about how your words caused harm to grieving parents, how do you plan to show, rather than just tell, that you are sorry?” one juror asked.
“I’d apologize to her legitimately, I would love to invite you guys on the show [Infowars] regardless, so you could actually come meet the people, come on, and I think it would be huge for everybody to see that,” he said.
Jones used Infowars to regularly spread disinformation about the Sandy Hook shooting and claimed he had been “misrepresented” and he no longer wanted to be “the Sandy Hook guy.”
Speaking to Jones, Lewis said: “It seems so incredible to me that we have to do this. That we have to implore you — not just implore you, punish you — to get you to stop lying…It is surreal what is going on in here.”