- A jury has found that Alex Jones must pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to two parents whose son was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre.
- Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis sued Jones for defamation over his false “hoax” claims about the 2012 shooting.
- A Texas jury previously awarded Heslin and Lewis $4.1 million in damages.
Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to two parents whose son was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre over the broadcaster’s repeated false claims that the mass shooting was a “hoax,” a review has found Texas committee on Friday.
Texas has a $750,000 cap on punitive damages, so it’s unclear how much he would have to pay.
Jurors in Jones’ defamation trial in Austin, Texas, awarded the money to parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis after awarding the couple $4.1 million in damages on Thursday.
Heslin and Lewis — the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, who was one of 26 killed in the 2012 rampage in Newtown, Connecticut — sued Jones and his media company, Free Speech Systems, for defamation about his lies about mass. hunting.
Jones had already been found liable by default by a Texas court and a Connecticut jury for falsely claiming that the massacre — the deadliest K-12 school shooting in U.S. history — was a “gigantic hoax” orchestrated by the government with “crisis factors”.
Lawyers for Heslin and Lewis previously asked jurors to force Jones to pay their clients $150 million for the “massive campaign of lies” that led to years of torture and harassment for the parents.
“Alex Jones has zero patience for our society’s inability to speak without lying,” plaintiff attorney Wesley Ball told jurors Friday as he pleaded with them to “take him out of this conversation of this misinformation, of this trade of lies and make sure. he can’t do it again.”
Jones’ defense attorney, F. Antino Reynal, asked jurors Friday to return a verdict that is “fair and proportionate,” which he suggested was $270,000. He previously asked the jury to award no more than $8 in damages.
During the punitive damages phase of the trial, a forensic economist testified that the estimated combined net worth of Jones Systems and Free Speech, the media company that operates Infowars — which filed for bankruptcy last week— it’s between $135 million and $270 million.
Forensic economist Bernard Pettingill, who was hired by the plaintiffs to testify, also estimated Jones’ personal net worth at between $70 million and $140 million.
Pettingill testified that Jones “preached some hate speech and some misinformation, but he made a lot of money and invested it.”
“As mischievous as he is, as much of an outsider as he is, he’s a very successful man,” Pettingill said.
The trial was the first of three in which jurors will determine how much Jones must pay in restitution to the Sandy Hook families.