In a stunning ruling, a Connecticut judge ordered noted conspiracy theorist and podcast host Alex Jones to pay approximately $950,000,000 to the families of eight children killed during the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Jones claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged, that there were no deaths at the school and that the news stories profiled crisis actors to propagate a false narrative with the goal of advancing liberal gun control and confiscation initiatives.
Jones used his large social media presence to claim the incident was a “hoax” repeatedly. Jones did not heed requests to retract or stop his claims. Families of the victims successfully argued that Jones’ statements caused anguish — noting that they made them targets of harassment.
Prosecutors asked the jury to award their clients $550 million, based on the number of impressions Jones’ false claims received online via his “Infowars” program.
Today’s verdict follows a decision from a Texas jury, which ruled against Jones in a separate defamation case and awarded plaintiffs “$4.1 million in compensatory damages and $45.2 million in punitive damages,” according to The Daily Wire.
The Wednesday verdict brings to a close a three-week court case, which included testimony from school employees, FBI agents and parents of the victims. CNN reported the case was a consolidation of three cases brought forward by several Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent.
Christopher Mattei, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said while addressing the jurors: “You may say that is astronomical. It is. It’s exactly what Alex Jones set himself up to do. That’s what he built. He built a lie machine that could push this stuff out. You reap what you sow.”
Earlier this year, Jones acknowledged that the shooting was not a hoax. However, CNN reported that Jones did not “comply with court orders during the discovery process” and continued to profit from advancing conspiracy theories while litigation was in process. This infuriated officials and led to significant judgments against him.
After the judgment, Jones reportedly said: “I don’t apologize for questioning it. I apologize if, out of context, I hurt somebody’s feelings.”
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