US court orders Alex Jones to pay $965 million in damages for best lies
Staff Reporter: A US court on Wednesday ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $965m in damages to the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, which he falsely claimed as a hoax.
On December 14, 2012, a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children and 6 adults. local time Wednesday in Waterbury, Connecticut (about 20 miles from the site of the shootings). Many of the families of the victims could not hold back their tears.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school in United States history and the fourth-deadliest mass shooting overall. The 20-year-old assailant, Adam Lanza, had a prior history of mental illness. Adam first killed his mother on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Then Sandy Hook Elementary School was attacked. Adam Lanza committed suicide after shooting and killing 20 children ages 6 to 7 and 6 adults. Family members of Sandy Hook victims have campaigned numerous times for gun control, but their efforts have failed.
Some people spread on the internet about this incident, this murder was arranged by the government. They claimed that the shooting incident was fake and that actors and actresses were used in it. Its purpose is to discredit the ‘gun lobby’ or pro-gun public opinion.
The verdict to the defamation trial that sought at least $550m by the families of eight victims and an FBI agent came after three weeks of testimony in a state court in Waterbury, Connecticut.
The right-wing radio host was accused of spreading misinformation that led to a decade of harassment and death threats.
Earlier in August, a Texas court ordered him to pay $49 million in a similar case brought by two other Sandy Hook victims’ parents after he conceded that the attack was “100% real”. Twenty children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Jones for years relentlessly argued that the massacre was a “staged” government plot to take guns from Americans and that “no-one died”. He called the parents of victims “crisis actors” and argued that some of them never actually existed.
The three-week trial was marked by emotional testimony from a succession of parents, who filled the gallery each day and took turns recounting how Jones’ lies about Sandy Hook compounded their grief.
Some described receiving a deluge of online hate and others said they had to move homes repeatedly for their own safety. A father, Mark Barden, recounted hearing that people were desecrating his son Daniel’s grave by “urinating on it and threatening to dig it up”.
During closing arguments last week, lawyers for the families of eight Sandy Hook victims said Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, for years cashed in on lies about the shooting, which drove traffic to his Infowars website and boosted sales of its nutritional supplements, survival gear and other products.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Chris Mattei said: “The families suffered a decade-long campaign of harassment and death threats from Jones’s followers. When every single one of these families was drowning in grief, Alex Jones put his foot right on top of them.”
Jones, for his part, slammed the proceedings as a “show trial” run by a “tyrant” judge and argued he was not to blame for the actions of his followers.
“I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times, and I’m done saying I’m sorry,” he said in dramatic testimony late last month that brought some in the courtroom to tears.
Jones’s lawyer, Norman Pattis, countered during his closing arguments that the plaintiffs had shown scant evidence of quantifiable losses and urged jurors to ignore the political undercurrents in the case.
“This is not a case about politics,” Pattis said. “It’s about how much to compensate the plaintiffs.”
Alex Jones broadcast himself watching Wednesday’s verdict and scoffing at the court proceedings. He also appealed to his followers to make urgent donations and pledged that the money would not be used towards his legal costs.
“The money does not go to these people,” he said. “It goes to fight this fraud and it goes to stabilise the company.”
His lawyer Norm Pattis told reporters that they will appeal the decision.
Jones now faces a third trial, in Texas around the end of the year, in a lawsuit filed by the parents of another child killed in the shooting.