A Texas jury on Thursday ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million in punitive damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Sandy Elementary School massacre. Hook, marks the first time the Infowars host has been held financially responsible for repeatedly claiming the deadliest school shooting in US history was a hoax.
The Austin jury still has to decide the amount Infowars presenter to pay punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewiswhose son Jesse Lewis was among 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
Parents searched at least 150 million dollars in compensation to smear and intentionally cause emotional distress. Jones’ attorney ask the jury to limit damages to $8 — one dollar for each claim they are considering — and Jones himself says that any prize above $2 million “would sink us.” .
It’s possible this won’t be the final verdict against Jones given his claims that the attack was staged in the interest of increased gun control. A Connecticut judge ruled against him in a similar lawsuit brought by other victims’ families and an FBI agent who worked on the case.
Texas’ award could mark other cases against Jones and underscore the financial threat he is facing. It also raises new questions about the capabilities of Infowars that have been banned YouTube, Spotify and Twitter for hate speech – to continue operating, although the company’s finances are still unclear.
Jones admitted during the trial that the attack was real and that he was wrong to lie about it. But Heslin and Lewis told jurors that an apology was not enough and urged them to make Jones pay for the years of suffering he caused them and the other Sandy Hook families.
Jones’ media company Free Speech Systems, the parent company of Infowars, filed for bankruptcy in two weeks of testing.
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