In 2012, a mass murderer killer 20 children and six adults in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. In the years that followed this tragedy, Alex Jones and his InfoWars cohorts spread the conspiracy that the mass shooting was a false flag operation, a government op with the objective of “taking away people’s guns,” and that those children weren’t really dead. It was macabre and vile, and it had real-world implications, as Jones’s unhinged supporters began traveling to Sandy Hook to harass the parents of the murdered children. Many of those parents decided to sue Alex Jones. Over the summer, the dam broke in the first of the lawsuits, one brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of Jesse Lewis. Jones’s lawyer “accidentally” sent all of Jones’s phone data to the plaintiff’s legal team, which led to Jones perjuring himself multiple times on the stand. For that one civil trial, with one family, Jones was ordered to pay $49.3 million in punitive and compensatory damages. Following that, Jones was back in court in Connecticut, facing down eight families who had sued him for defamation. The jury’s decision just came down on Wednesday and holy sh-t. $965 million spread out among eight families.
A Connecticut jury ordered Infowars founder Alex Jones to pay $965 million in damages to the families of eight victims of the Sandy Hook shooting for the suffering caused by years of lies that the massacre was a hoax.
Wednesday’s verdict marks the largest award to date in a multi-pronged legal battle by the families to hold Jones responsible for circulating falsehoods about the 2012 mass shooting where 20 children and six educators were killed in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Within hours of the shooting, Jones was telling his audience that it was staged as a pretext for confiscating guns. Within days, he began to suggest that grieving parents were actors. In the years that followed, he repeatedly said the massacre was faked.
The families testified during the trial that the lies spread by Jones led to harassment and threats by conspiracy theorists who have accused them of faking their own children’s deaths. They described feeling unsafe in their own homes and hypervigilant in public. Some of the families moved away from Newtown.
The largest single award of $120 million went to Robbie Parker, whose six-year-old daughter Emilie was killed in the shooting. Jones spent years mocking Parker as an actor. The plaintiffs also included a FBI agent who responded to the shooting and was awarded $90 million in damages.
The size of the damages is a sign that jurors found a defendant’s conduct particularly reprehensible and harmful – and as a way of deterring future wrongdoing.
I agree that “the size of the damages is a sign that jurors found a defendant’s conduct particularly reprehensible and harmful – and as a way of deterring future wrongdoing.” I also think it was specific to Alex Jones too – if he had been a smoother operator and less of a sweaty, panicked, lying meatball, he would not be punished to this extent. I know that’s horrible to admit, but it’s true. I wish there was some way to punish all of the people “radicalized” by Alex Jones and InfoWars too, the people who actually went to Sandy Hook to personally harass grieving families, the people who would rather believe Alex Jones, one of the dumbest f–king con artists out there.
Screencaps courtesy of August trial/MSNBC.
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