Image source: Reuters
School shootings are undoubtedly tragedies, but conspiracy theorist Alex Jones did the unthinkable when he claimed the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was a staged “hoax.”
As a result, the parents filed a libel suit against Jones.
The result forces Alex Jones to pay $4.1 million in damages.
Alex Jones is an alt-right conspiracy theorist who has accused the government of orchestrating the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks.
However, his most despicable theory is that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was staged.
“Sandy Hook is a synthetic. Completely fake with actors, in my view. Manufactured,”he said in a 2015 edition of the radio show.
“I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids.”
“It just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors.”
The recent trial marks the first time that Jone has been financially punished for his repeated lies.
Previously, the conspiracy theorist described the lawsuits and proceedings against him as “a Constitution-destroying, absolute, total, and complete travesty.”
Meanwhile, parents who successfully sued him have described his statements as something so mischievous that it falls outside the confines of discourse protected by the constitution.
Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, the separated parents of six-year-old Jesse Lewis – one of twenty children who died in the massacre – have discussed the two-week libel trial.
The punitive damages are intended to prevent Jones from repeating his offense.
“We ask that you send a very, very simple message, and this is: Stop Alex Jones,” a plaintiffs’ lawyer said in court on Friday.
“Stop the monetization of misinformation and lies. Please.”
Lewis and Heslin said they suffered harassment and emotional distress because of the misinformation spread by Jones.
As a result, they are seeking $150 million in damages to cover costs incurred in defaming the conspiracy theorist, including the private security guards they hired during the trial for fear of being attacked by a supporter of Jones.
Two weeks ago, an economist hired by Lewis and Heslin said Alex Jones, his media brand Infowars and parent company Free Speech Systems were worth a combined $270 million.
Bernard Pettingill told the court that records show Jones withdrew $62 million from his business for himself last year amid mounting legal troubles.
“That number represents, in my opinion, a value of a net worth,” Pettingill said.
“He’s got money put in a bank account somewhere.”
During the first week of the two-week process, Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy protection.
Additionally, the lawsuit received notice that Jones’s company made $ 800,000 in one day by selling dietary supplements, armor, and survival gear.
Lewis and Heslin’s lawyers accused him of attempting to hide the evidence, claiming he committed perjury after denying sending messages about the Sandy Hook massacre.
Last week, a Lewis and Heslin attorney revealed that Jones’s legal representative accidentally shared two years of his phone messages.
He said the Congressional commission investigating the 2021 Capitol riots requested access to the messages while investigating his alleged role.
The libel case is the first of three against Alex Jones by the families of the Sandy Hook victims.
He has lost a number of default defamation cases for failing to provide documents and testimony.
The latest trial is the first in which a jury has agreed to monetary damages.
The controversial radio host made a brief appearance on Friday but was absent for the final sentencing hearing.
Jones and his platform
Although the conspiracy theorist retracted his claims about Sandy Hook, Alex Jones continued to use his media platform to claim the case against him was rigged.
He claimed that the members of the jury “don’t know what planet they’re on.”
Jones’ Infowars website also featured the judge consumed by flames. His antics led to the scolding of the judge, who told him: “This is not your show.”
Following the verdict, Jones posted a video claiming that his net worth was a fraction of what was said in court, denouncing the trial as “beyond any kangaroo-rigged court.”