Lawyers for the parents of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting are set to present evidence of Alex Jones’ wealth to Texas jurors on Friday as they seek punitive damages from the- beyond the $4.1 million they got a day ago for the US conspiracy theorist’s lies about the massacre.
A 12-person jury ruled Thursday that Jones should pay parents $4.1 million in compensatory damages for spreading conspiracy theories about the murder of 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Elementary School. Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012, which the right-wing broadcaster claimed was a hoax.
The verdict follows a two-week trial in Austin, Texas, where Jones’ Infowars radio show and webcast is based.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of six-year-old Jesse Lewis, are also seeking punitive damages, which may be awarded for what a jury finds to be particularly egregious behavior by a defendant, in addition to compensation.
A financial expert is due to testify on their behalf on Friday before jurors deliberate again.
Mark Bankston, a lawyer representing Heslin and Lewis, said after Thursday’s compensatory award: “With punitive damages yet to be decided and multiple [other pending legal matters]it’s clear that Mr. Jones’ time on the American stage is finally coming to an end.
Heslin and Lewis testified that Jones supporters harassed them for years in the false belief that the parents lied about their son’s death.
Jones sought to distance himself from conspiracy theories during his testimony, saying he was sorry if he hurt parents’ feelings while acknowledging that Sandy Hook was “100% real”.
Kyle Farrar, an attorney for the parents, urged jurors during closing arguments on Wednesday to hold Jones accountable for profiting from their son’s death.
Jones’ attorney Federico Andino Reynal told jurors on Wednesday that Infowars reported “irresponsibly” about Sandy Hook, but said his client was not responsible for the actions of its viewers.
Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems LLC, filed for bankruptcy last week. Jones said on a Monday show that the filing will help the company stay on the air while it appeals.
The bankruptcy filing put a similar but much larger defamation lawsuit on hold, brought by several families in Sandy Hook, Connecticut where, like in Texas, he has already been found liable. He is also facing another case brought by other parents in Texas.
Jones could also face perjury charges after one of the most memorable episodes of the Austin trial, when Bankston revealed to the defendant in the civil case that his legal team had “messed up” and provided “all text messages” that Jones had been writing over the past two years. .
Those messages included texts that contradicted claims Jones had made under oath in an earlier deposition that he had nothing on his phone relating to the Sandy Hook massacre. Bankston said he informed Jones’ attorneys of the apparently erroneous leak, but the defense never took steps to label the communications “privileged,” which could have barred them from appearing in court.
Bankston also said on Thursday that the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol had asked him to provide the panel with the texts by Jones, a prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump.
A pro-Trump mob led the attack on Capitol Hill, and the panel apparently wants to see what communications the ousted president’s team may have had with Jones.
Bankston said he intended to comply with the request unless a judge ordered him to do otherwise and that could be announced as early as Friday.