Alex Jones trial - Infowars host faces two more defamation trials

·8 min read

The Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones now faces two more defamation trials filed by parents of other victims, after he was ordered to pay a total of $49m in damages.

One trial is in Texas brought by the parents of another victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. His lawyer said on Friday that the case is on pause due to his company’s bankruptcy.

The second trial is in Waterbury, Connecticut, for the families of eight other victims.

The jury in Austin, Texas, decided on Thursday he must pay more than $4m in compensation to the parents of six-year-old Jesse Lewis who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. On Friday they ordered Jones to pay an additional $45.2m in punitive damages.

Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis filed a defamation suit against Jones over his claims that the school shooting, that saw 20 children and six adults killed, was a hoax.

It transpired during the trial that his own lawyer had mistakenly shared the entire contents of Jones’ phone with the opposition legal team who have been asked to provide it to the January 6 committee.

Key Points

05:29 , Stuti Mishra

Good morning! Welcome to The Independent’s live blog covering all the latest updates from the trials of Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Stay tuned for the latest!

Why Jones is being sued by the Sandy Hook victims’ families

05:54 , Stuti Mishra

Hours after 26 people were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Alex Jones began spouting false claims that the massacre wasn’t real.

More than 10 years later, the far-right conspiracy theorist’s inflammatory comments have continued to haunt him as families of the shooting victims – 20 of which were young children – hold him accountable in court.

Following multiple attempts from the Infowars host to delay and derail justice, his time is finally up.

Why is Alex Jones being sued by families of children killed in Sandy Hook massacre?

Alex Jones faces two more defamation lawsuits

06:30 , Stuti Mishra

The Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones now faces two more defamation trials filed by parents of other victims, after he was ordered to pay a total of $49m in damages.

One trial is in Texas brought by the parents of another victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. His lawyer said on Friday that the case is on pause due to his company’s bankruptcy.

The second is trial is to decide damages in a different case in Waterbury, Connecticut, after he was found liable by default judgment for defaming families of several Sandy Hook victims with falsehoods about the shooting that killed 20 children and six staff in Newtown, Connecticut.

Jones had called the shooting a hoax by the US government, staged using crisis actors to serve as a pretext for taking away Americans’ guns. He has since acknowledged that the massacre was real.

The Connecticut trial, which had been set to begin in September, was put on hold after Jones‘ company, Free Speech Systems LLC, declared bankruptcy last week.

Jones said during a Monday broadcast of his Infowars program that the filing will help the company stay on the air while it appeals.

Recap: Jones ordered to pay additional $45.2m in punitive damages to family of Sandy Hook victim

07:30 , Stuti Mishra

Alex Jones has been ordered to pay $45.2m in punitive damages to the family of a Sandy Hook victim by a Texas jury, in addition to the $4.11m he already must pay them in compensatory damages.

The right-wing conspiracy theorist was not in court as the jury in Travis County, Texas, returned its unanimous verdict against him late on Friday afternoon.

Alex Jones ordered to pay additional $45.2m in punitive damages by Texas jury

‘Master class in what not to do in court,’ John Oliver mocks Alex Jones

08:30 , Stuti Mishra

In the Sunday episode of Last Week Tonight host John Oliver took a dig at Alex Jones following the court verdict, describing him as “a man who boldly answers the question: What if Grimace were a Proud Boy?”

“Guess what, Alex? You f****d with info and this time info f*****g won,” Mr Oliver said.“And the way he’s handled this trial is almost a master class in what not to do in court.”

After showing clips of the “exasperated” judge who had to stop the proceedings at one point to tell Mr Jones to “tell the truth”, Mr Oliver concluded: “None of this is going to stop him.”

“There are two more trials coming up, and he’s probably going to find ways to turn those into a clown show as well and fundraise off them too,” he added.“But at the very least, this phone thing could make his life much more difficult—and for a while.”

“And that is something that we should all be allowed to enjoy, because to wake up one morning and find out that Alex Jones’ lawyers mistakenly shared his cellphone records is a true blessing. We don’t deserve this, but one thing’s for sure: He definitely does.”

Jones began putting $11,000 per day in ‘shell’ company after being found liable in Sandy Hook cases

09:30 , Stuti Mishra

Alex Jones began putting $11,000 a day into an alleged shell company after being found liable in the Sandy Hook cases, a court heard.

The right-wing conspiracy theorist was ordered to pay $4.11m in compensatory damages to the family of a six-year-old victim of the school shooting on Thursday.

And during Friday’s hearing on punitive damages, an expert testified on the extent of the Infowars founder’s wealth.

Graeme Massie reports on what he had to say:

Alex Jones began putting $11k/day in shell company after Sandy Hook liability ruling

Recap: Alex Jones claims created ‘living hell’ for Sandy Hook parents

10:30 , Stuti Mishra

The parents of a 6-year-old killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting described being put through a “living hell” of death threats, harassment and ongoing trauma over the past decade as they confronted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has used his media platforms to push claims that it was all a hoax.

Sandy Hook parents: Alex Jones claims created 'living hell'

Jan 6 panel asks for Alex Jones’ texts

11:30 , Stuti Mishra

An attorney representing two parents who sued conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre says the US House January 6 committee has requested two years’ worth of records from Jones’ phone.

Attorney Mark Bankston said in court Thursday that the committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol has requested the digital records.

Sandy Hook attorney: Jan. 6 panel asks for Alex Jones' texts

ICYMI: Jones bizarrely calls $4.1m Sandy Hook judgment a ‘victory for truth’

12:30 , Stuti Mishra

After the jury reached a verdict in Alex Jones’s defamation damages trial and ordered him to pay the plaintiffs compensatory damages of $4.1m (£3.4m), the bombastic Infowars host nevertheless declared victory.

Mr Jones was taken to court by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of Sandy Hook massacre victim six-year-old Jesse Lewis, after they alleged they had endured years of torment and anguish because of his claims that the 2012 mass shooting was a hoax.

While the jury awarded a significantly smaller amount than the plaintiffs’ request for $150m (£124m), it was far more than the $8 (£6.6m) offered by Mr Jones’s attorney – one dollar for each charge against him.

Alex Jones bizarrely calls $4.1m Sandy Hook judgment a ‘victory for truth’

Lawyer for Alex Jones could face trouble after accidental records release

13:30 , Stuti Mishra

Houston lawyer Federico Andino Reynal, who was left red-faced when it emerged his team had sent damning information to opposing counsel during the Texas defamation trial of Alex Jones, could also face career repercussions after the embarrassing incident.

Mr Reynal admitted last week that a digital copy of contents from the Infowars host’s phone -- including texts and medical records -- had been accidentally sent to the legal team for the plaintiffs. The mix-up led to a gleeful moment for opposing counsel when they used the information to catch Jones in blatant lies while under oath.

Sheila Flynn has the story.

Lawyer for Alex Jones could face trouble after accidental records release

Jones and company worth up to $270m, says economist

14:30 , Stuti Mishra

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company Free Speech Systems are worth up to $270 million, an economist testified Friday to a jury trying to determine if Jones should have to pay punitive damages to the family of a 6-year-old killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

The same jury ordered Jones to pay Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis $4.1 million in compensation for defamation. Punitive damages are determined as a separate issue, and the parents want to punish Jones for a decade of pushing false hoax claims that they say led to a decade of trauma and abuse from the Infowars host’s followers.

Economist: Alex Jones, his company worth up to $270 million

Jones remains defiant after court orders him to pay millions

15:30 , Stuti Mishra

Alex Jones returned to the airwaves almost immediately on Friday after being ordered to pay nearly $50million to grieving Sandy Hook parents – continuing to insist the decks were stacked against him as he blamed George Soros and “operatives” for his legal troubles.

That defiance was in stark contrast to the red-faced, slack-jawed shock that registered on Mr Jones’ face during the trial when it emerged his lawyers had mistakenly sent damning evidence to opposing counsel.

This week, the Infowars media mogul, estimated to be worth around $270 million by one economist witness, lost the first of several trials against him for spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation. He repeatedly insisted that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut – when a gunman killed 20 six- and seven-year-olds at an elementary school – had been staged as a hoax.

Sheila Flynn reports.

Alex Jones stays defiant after court orders him to pay millions; blames George Soros

Voices: Let’s be honest — real justice wasn’t served in the Alex Jones trial

16:30 , Stuti Mishra

Hannah Selinger writes:

The parents who sued Jones — whose son, Jesse, was murdered at Sandy Hook — had sought damages in the amount of $150 million. That was not a purposeless number born of pure greed. And now Jones will pay only $4.1 million, which won’t have the intended effect at all.

Read more:

Let’s be honest — real justice wasn’t served in the Alex Jones trial