Alex Jones has been ordered to pay $45.2 million in restitution to the family of a Sandy Hook victim by a Texas jury, on top of the $4.11 million he already must pay them in restitution.
The right-wing conspiracy theorist was not in court as the jury in Travis County, Texas, returned its unanimous verdict against him late Friday afternoon.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jesse was among the 20 students and six adults killed in the mass shooting, sued Jones and his media company over claims he made that the massacre was an operation of “fake flag”. and that the victims did not actually exist.
The jury’s decision came a day after it found Jones must pay $4.11 million in restitution to the family.
Mr. Heslin and Ms. Lewis had sought $150 million in damages, and the jury’s award of punitive damages is designed to deter harmful conduct.
After the ruling, the family’s lawyer, Mark Bankston, asked the judge to decide whether he could release a copy of Jones’ phone data, which he revealed during the trial had been mistakenly sent by Jones’ legal team.
Mr Bankston told the court that the January 6 commission and other law enforcement agencies have already asked him to hand over a copy of the data.
Jones’ lawyers said they wanted the judge to rule that Mr Bankston could not turn over the text messages and emails contained on the phone, but she refused to be drawn into the situation.
“I don’t come between you (Bankston) and Congress, that’s not my job and I’m not going to do it. I’m not getting in the middle of this fight,” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble said.
And he told the court the case had been a “challenging and exhausting few weeks for all of us”.
During the final day of testimony, the family’s attorney surprisingly informed Jones that his own attorney had accidentally sent them two years of his text messages.
Jones had claimed during discovery that he couldn’t find text messages about Sandy Hook on his phone, but denied lying under oath.