Controversial radio host Alex Jones was ordered to pay $965 million in damages to the families of eight Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, along with a first responder, for falsely claiming that the 2012 massacre was staged.
A six-member Connecticut jury ultimately took three days to return a unanimous verdict, according to New York Post,
The InfoWars host was not present in court when the verdict was announced, despite testing at trial last month, which included tearful and emotional testimony from relatives of Sandy Hook victims.
Families of Sandy Hook victims tell jury about harassment, Jones threatens to spread misinformation
The families told the jury that they were harassed and threatened by Jones’ followers after it was determined that she and her media company Free Speech Systems, which operates the InfoWars website, spread lies about the mass shooting. ,
The Barden family, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was fatally shot during the Sandy Hook massacre, testified that people had urinated on their son’s grave and even used to prove it. That he was still alive threatened to dig up his corpse, reports the Post.
Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old daughter Emily was also murdered at school, told the jury about the ongoing harassment when InfoWars posted a video of her smiling the day after the shooting.
This was enough evidence for Jones to falsely portray Parker and others as “crisis actors,” the outlet reports.
“It will come in these waves,” Parker said of the harassment. “It was almost like I knew when Alex Jones said something, because we’d get a huge wave of stuff.”
Jones, 48, did not apologize, saying during his testimony that he was told “I’m sorry” for spreading lies about Sandy Hook.
InfoWars Host Slams Decision, Calls Legal Proceedings “Kangaroo Court,” “Show Trial”
Jones eventually declined to present a defense in the case, with his lawyers remaining without presenting any evidence or witnesses in favor of their clients.
On Wednesday outside a Connecticut courthouse, Jones called the proceedings “kangaroo court” and a “show trial,” with the sole purpose of putting him out of business.
According to celebrity net worthA financial forensics expert estimated that Jones and his companies were worth between $135 and $270 million.
In testing, it was revealed that between 2015 and 2022, Jones’ primary company Infowars averaged $53.2 million in gross revenue.
Jones had already lost four defamation lawsuits filed by the Sandy Hook families late last year, the second of three trials for a trial jury in Connecticut to decide how much money Jones would have to pay in damages. ,
The verdict comes after the Sandy Hook families lost four previous defamation lawsuits
This week’s ruling comes two months after an Austin, Texas jury, where InfoWars is based, ordered Jones to pay upwards of $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was. According to news reports, of the 20 children killed during the 2012 attack.
Six teachers also died.
Jones sought to portray himself as a victim in that trial, claiming the shooting had been “typecast”.
He has since said that he now believes the massacre did indeed take place.