Friday, December 2, 2022

Latest Posts

Jury orders Alex Jones to pay families $965 million for Sandy Hook lies

The ruling is the second major ruling against the Infowars host, who for years falsely claimed the 2012 US school massacre was staged.

A jury in the United States has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $965 million in damages to the families of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting for lying about the tragedy being a hoax.

Wednesday’s verdict came after three weeks of testimony in a state court in Waterbury, Connecticut, not far from where a gunman killed 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

It far exceeded the $49 million Jones was ordered to pay by a Texas jury in a similar case in August.

For years, Jones relentlessly propagated the lie that the massacre never happened and that the grieving families featured in the coverage were actors hired as part of a conspiracy to disarm Americans.

The Connecticut trial was marked by weeks of painful testimonies from the families who filled the gallery each day, taking turns telling how Jones’ lies about Sandy Hook increased their grief. An FBI agent who responded to the shooting was also a plaintiff in the case.

During closing arguments last week, attorneys for the families of eight Sandy Hook victims said Jones made money for years from lying about the shooting, which drove traffic to his Infowars website and sales of his various products.

The families, meanwhile, suffered from a decades-long campaign of harassment and death threats from Jones’ supporters, attorney Chris Mattei said.

“Every single one of these families [was] Drowning in grief, and Alex Jones put his foot right on her,” Mattei told jurors.

Jones’ attorney, Norman Pattis, in his closing arguments, countered that the plaintiffs presented little evidence of quantifiable losses and urged the jury to ignore the political undercurrents in the case.

“This isn’t about politics,” Pattis said. “It’s about how much the plaintiffs have to indemnify.”

At the jury’s request, the court Wednesday began playing an approximately hour-long audio recording of the trial testimony of William Sherlach, whose wife, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, was among those killed in the massacre.

Sherlach testified that he was concerned for his safety and that of his family because of the shooting deniers’ vitriol.

He said he saw online posts falsely claiming the shooting was a hoax; that his wife never existed; that she was not qualified to become a school psychologist; that his family’s real name was Goldberg and they lived in Florida and that he was part of a financial cabal and somehow connected to the school gunner’s father.

Other parents and siblings of the Sandy Hook victims told the Connecticut court in recent weeks how they have been threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies told on Jones’ show.

Strangers would show up at their homes to take them in. People have hurled offensive comments on social media.

Erica Lafferty, the daughter of murdered Sandy Hook director Dawn Hochsprung, testified that people sent rape threats to her home. Mark Barden told how conspiracy theorists urinated on the grave of his seven-year-old son Daniel and threatened to dig up the coffin.

Jones, who has since admitted the shooting took place, also testified, briefly throwing the trial into chaos when he railed against his “liberal” critics and refused to apologize to the families.

In August, another jury ordered Jones and his company to pay $49.3 million to Sandy Hook’s separated parents after a court hearing in Austin, Texas, where Jones’ Infowars conspiracy theory website is headquartered.

Later in the year, Jones now faces a third trial in Texas in a lawsuit filed by the parents of another child killed in the shooting.

Latest Posts

Don't Miss