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A jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $4.1million (£3.3million) in damages to the parents of a six-year-old boy who was killed in the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was among 20 students and six teachers killed in the Connecticut attack, successfully sued Jones and his media company Free Speech Systems for defamation in October 2021.
The Infowars radio show host had repeatedly claimed that the deadliest school shooting in US history was a hoax and staged by gun control activists using actors.
A Texas jury has now decided he was liable for damages totaling $4.1m (£3.3m).
On Thursday, Jones filed a motion to have the trial dismissed, but the Texas judge denied the request.
During the trial to determine how much damages the parents should receive, Jones admitted that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was “100% real“.
lie under oath
But Mr. Heslin and Ms. Lewis told jurors an apology would not be enough and asked them to make Jones pay for the years of pain he had caused them and other Sandy Hook families.
Kyle Farrar, one of Jesse’s parents’ lawyers, said he was “very pleased with the verdict”.
Mark Bankston, another member of their team, had accused Jones in court of approaching the lawsuit in bad faith, citing broadcasts where he said the lawsuit was rigged against him.
He showed a video of Jones saying on his Friday show that the jury was full of people who “don’t know what planet they’re on.”
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble chastised Jones on Tuesday for not telling the truth under oath after he falsely told the court he was bankrupt and had complied with the discovery in the case.
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The 12-person jury will then consider the parents’ claim for up to $75m (£62m) in punitive damages from Jones for spreading lies about the murder of pupils and teachers at the school of Connecticut in December 2012.
Punitive damages are those that are in addition to the basic compensation amount and are intended to punish the defendant.
Trial consultant Jill Huntley Taylor said it’s not uncommon for a jury to award higher punitive damages than compensatory damages.
“If the jurors’ motivation for an award is their anger at the defendant, they often award larger punitive damages.
number,” she said in an interview.
Jones’ lawyers have yet to comment on the outcome.
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