Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been ordered to pay $4.11 million in damages to the families of Sandy Hook victims.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis’ 6-year-old son Jesse is among 20 students and 6 adults killed in mass shooting One of the people who sued Jones and his media company claiming the massacre was a “false flag” operation and that the victims didn’t actually exist.
They had sought $150 million in damages and are now expected to go to another trial to determine punitive damages on Friday.
At the heart of the Alex Jones defamation case is the decade-long tragedy of families who lost young children and loved ones in one of the worst school massacres in American history.
What happened to Sandy Hook and how did Alex Jones get involved?
Heavily armed Adam Lanza, 20, walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 after shooting his mother and sparked an unimaginable carnage that resulted in the murder of 20 children and six adults.
Despite casualties in the town of Newtown, Connecticut, within hours of the bloodshed, Alex Jones began falsely claiming that despite all the evidence to the contrary, the massacre that shocked the world wasn’t real.
While the families were left to bury their young children in small coffins, Jones said the mass shooting and the murder of 20 children never happened.
He even claimed that the six or seven-year-old mourned did not even exist.
The Infowars host told his audience that the violence was actually a “false flag” operation devised by the government to enforce stricter gun control laws and take away Second Amendment rights.
He claimed the incident was “staged” and “completely false”, carried out by “actors” as a “huge hoax”. His conspiracy theory began less than two hours after the December 14, 2012 mass shooting.
“There’s been a reported school shooting in Connecticut — one of the states that has strict restrictions on gun ownership … the media will hype it up,” he told the audience.
“Why is the government doing these things? Get our guns!”
So he went on to say for the next decade that the filming was “staged” and “completely fake,” by “actors” as a “huge hoax.”
What Happened After Alex Jones Called Sandy Hook a ‘Scam’?
The family destroyed by Adam Lanza has finally had enough.
In 2018, a total of 10 families of victims filed four defamation lawsuits in Texas (where Infowars is located) and Connecticut over false allegations by Mr. Jones and Infowars.
And in 2021, judges in all defamation cases ruled Jones acquitted of guilt for failing to provide the required evidence.
Jones is due to testify under oath in March as part of an effort to resolve the case, but his layers have tried to delay it, claiming he is too “sick” to participate.
Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis denied his request for a delay, saying he performed well enough to film his Infowars show and that he appeared in defiance of a court order.
Then the circus moved to Austin, Texas, and a Travis County jury was asked to decide how much Jones had to pay Neil Hesling and Scarlett Lewis.
Their six-year-old son Jesse was one of 20 children and six adults killed by the gunmen.
What Happened During the Defamation Trial?
Jones avoided Mr Hesling’s testimony but confronted Ms Lewis directly in court, who told the court her son had taken the nine children to safety before being shot in the head.
“Jesse is real,” Ms. Lewis told Jones during her testimony Tuesday, sitting in court in Travis County, Texas. “I’m a real mom.”
She added: “I want to tell you in person because I want you to know that I am a mother first. I know you are a father,” Lewis told Jones.
“And my son exists. You’re still on your show today, trying to say that I’m — insinuating — that I’m an actress. I’m “Deep State.” You have. This week. I don’t get it.
She went on to tell Jones that even he didn’t believe his outrageous remarks about the shooting.
“I’m not the Deep State…I know you know…I know you believe me, but you’re leaving this courtroom and saying it again on your show,” she said. “Are you capable of putting yourself in my shoes? Do you have empathy?”
At one point, Ms. Lewis asked Jones if she really thought she was an actress.
“Having a six-year-old son shot in the forehead in a classroom is unbearable. … and then having someone continue to lie on top of that, saying it was a hoax, it didn’t happen, it was a falsehood flag, I’m an actress – do you think I’m an actress?”
“No, I don’t think you’re an actor,” he replied before the judge warned him and told him to keep quiet.
What did Alex Jones say in his testimony?
In his own testimony, Jones promoted his supplement business at the booth and boasted about the quality of the products he sold on Infowars.
He even told the jury that his company made $165 million from supplements on the site.
At the beginning of his testimony, Jones apologized to his parents. “I never hurt you on purpose, I didn’t even say your name until we went to court,” he said.
He was then scolded by the judge in the case for telling the jury that he had complied with pretrial evidence gathering even though he had not, and that he was bankrupt and undecided.
“This is not your show,” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble told Jones. “Your beliefs cannot make something happen. You have sworn it.”
In his testimony, he eventually admitted that the Holocaust was “100 percent real.”
“Especially since I’ve met my parents. It’s 100 percent true,” Jones said.
On the final day of the testimony, the family’s lawyers told Jones in shock that his own lawyer had accidentally texted them for two years.
Jones claimed during the discovery that he could not find any text messages related to Sandy Hook on his phone, but denied he lied under oath.