A jury ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay the parents of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre $45.2 million in punitive damages. Earlier in the week, the jury awarded $4.1 million in compensatory damages to Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin as part of their defamation lawsuit against Jones.
Jones denied the massacre was real and falsely claimed that the victims and their families were crisis actors. Many of Jones’ fans used his comments as an excuse to harass, threaten, and intimidate the families. Several even received death threats.
Jones was found liable for defamation and the “intentional infliction of emotional distress” following a default judgment.
Jones’ legal battles are far from over. A different group of Sandy Hook families has also won a default judgment in their suit against Jones. Jury selection in that trial had to be halted after Jones’ company Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy. It is unclear when that trial will begin.
There could also be legal fallout after his lawyers inadvertently sent two years of cell phone records, which included every text message Jones had sent, and financial information about Free Speech Systems, to lawyers for Lewis and Heslin. The House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol and other federal and state investigators have requested access to the records, which reportedly contain “intimate messages” with Roger Stone.