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Alex Jones ordered to pay $4.1 million to Sandy Hook parents in defamation case

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 8/4/2022 Cami Mondeaux
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A jury in Austin ordered Alex Jones to pay $4.1 million to the parents who lost children in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School who sued the InfoWars host for defamation.

Jones was sued by the parents after the radio host and conspiracy theorist said the Sandy Hook massacre, the deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. elementary school, was “completely fake” and a “giant hoax” during a 2017 radio show. Opening statements and testimony for the trial began last week, and the jury broke for deliberations on Wednesday.

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The high-profile case featured testimony from Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, who died in the shooting. The couple stressed that an apology from Jones would not be sufficient and demanded a massive payout from him for spreading false information about the massacre, seeking as much as $150 million in damages from Jones and his media company.

The couple’s lawyers argued in opening statements last week that Jones led a "vile campaign of defamation" that resulted in the family receiving death threats from some of his followers who believed his claims that the shooting was fake.

Years after the shooting occurred, Jones decried the incident as a hoax that involved actors seeking stricter gun control legislation. Jones later denied saying the shootings were fake and told prosecutors in an April deposition that he was not responsible for any mistreatment toward parents because of the hoax claims.

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The InfoWars host had initially argued he was exercising his First Amendment rights by making those comments, later conceding during the trial on Wednesday that he now believes the shooting was "100% real" and that it was irresponsible to declare the shooting a hoax.

The trial that concluded on Friday is just the first of several lawsuits levied against Jones in relation to those comments. Jones was found liable for defamation in similar lawsuits filed in Texas and Connecticut. In both of those cases, the podcast host was given default judgments without trials because he failed to turn over key documents or respond to the judges’ orders, according to the Associated Press.

 

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Tags: Alex Jones, courts, News, sandy hook

Original Author: Cami Mondeaux

Original Location: Alex Jones ordered to pay $4.1 million to Sandy Hook parents in defamation case

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