A Texas jury has ordered Alex Jones to pay the families of Sandy Hook victims $45.2 million in punitive damages, in addition to the $4.11 million he already has to pay them.
The right-wing conspiracy theorist did not appear in court after a jury in Travis County, Texas, found him unanimously late Friday afternoon.
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.
The jury’s decision came a day after it was found that Jones should pay the family $4.11 million in damages.
Mr. Hesling and Ms. Lewis had sought $150 million in damages, and the jury’s decision on punitive damages was aimed at deterring harmful conduct.
Following the ruling, the family’s attorney, Mark Bankston, asked a judge to rule on whether he could release copies of Jones’ phone data, which he revealed during the trial that Jones’ own legal team had accidentally sent him.
Mr Bankston told the court he had been asked by the commission and other law enforcement agencies to hand over a copy of the data on January 6.
Jones’ lawyers said they wanted a judge to rule that Mr Bankston could not pass on the text messages and emails contained on the phone, but she refused to intervene.
“I’m not going to stand between you (Bankston) and Congress, that’s not my job, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to get involved in this fight,” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble said.
She told the court the case was “a challenging and exhausting few weeks for all of us”.
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.
A forensic economist has provided evidence of Jones’ wealth ahead of the jury’s punitive damages verdict.
Bernard Pettinger told the court that Jones began putting $11,000 a day into a so-called shell company after being found liable in the Sandy Hook case.
He told the jury he estimated Infowars made $64 million last year, while Jones’ media company Free Speech Systems was worth between $135 million and $270 million.
“Although he was a maverick, although he was an outsider, he was a very successful man,” Mr Pettingill said of Jones.
He went on to estimate that Horns was personally worth between $70 million and $140 million, bringing in $165 million from September 2015 to December 2018.
Mr Pettingil told the court that Jones withdrew $61.9 million from Free Speech Systems in 2021, the year he was sentenced in default.