Alex Jones to pay Sandy Hook families $473 million more

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Infowars host Alex Jones and his company were ordered by a judge on Thursday to pay an additional $473 million for promoting false conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school massacre, bringing the overall verdict against him in a of the lawsuits filed brought the victims’ families a staggering $1.44 billion.

Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis awarded punitive damages against the host of Infowars and Free Speech Systems. Jones repeatedly told his millions of followers about the massacre that claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six teachers was staged by “crisis actors” to enforce more gun control.

“The records clearly support the plaintiffs’ argument that the defendants’ conduct was willful, malicious, and certain to cause harm given their infrastructure, ability to distribute content, and large audience, including infowarriors,” the judge wrote in a 45-page scheme.

Christopher Mattei, an attorney for the Sandy Hook families, said he hopes the award sends a message to conspiracy theorists who profit from lying.

“The court recognized the ‘willful, malicious … and heinous’ conduct of Mr. Jones and his business units,” Mattei said in a statement.

On his show on Thursday, Jones called the award “ridiculous” and a “joke” and said he had little money to pay for the damage.

“Well, of course I laugh about it,” he said. “That would be like sending me a bill for a billion dollars in the mail. oh man we got you It’s all for the psychological effect. It’s all the Wizard of Oz … when they know full well the bankruptcy is in progress and everything else that it’s going to show what I have and that’s it and I have next to nothing.”

Eight victims’ families and the FBI agent testified during a month-long trial over years of threatening and harassing people who deny the shooting took place. Strangers showed up at some of their homes and confronted some of them in public. People hurled offensive comments at them on social media and in emails. Some received death and rape threats.

Six jurors ordered Jones to pay $965 million Compensating the 15 plaintiffs for defamation, causing emotional distress and violating the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Jones, who lives and works in Austin, Texas, has called the trial unfair and an attack on free speech. He announced that he would appeal the verdict. He has also said he doesn’t have the money to make such big judgments because he has less than $2 million to his name – contradicting testimonies at a similar trial in Texas. Meanwhile, Free Speech Systems is filing for bankruptcy protection.

Jones said Thursday he only had a few hundred thousand dollars in his savings account.

Jones’ attorney, Norm Pattis, wrote in a text message to The Associated Press: “To paraphrase Karl Marx, the verdict was a tragedy, this latest verdict is a farce. This makes our work in the appointment process much easier.”

Bellis found Jones and Infowars’ parent company liable for damages without a trial last year as a result of what it described as a repeated failure to turn over many financial documents and other records to the plaintiffs. After the unusual “default” verdict, the jury was only tasked with deciding the amount of damages and whether punitive damages were warranted.

Jones says he turned over thousands of documents and that the default judgment deprived him of the right to defend himself against the lawsuit.

The punitive damages include approximately $323 million for plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs and $150 million for violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In Connecticut, punitive damages for defamation and infliction of emotional distress are generally limited to the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees. Attorneys for the Sandy Hook plaintiffs are to receive one-third of the $965 million in damages under an advance payment agreement.

However, there is no cap on punitive damages for violations of the Unfair Trading Practices Act. Plaintiffs had not sought specific punitive damages, but following a hypothetical calculation, they said such damages could amount to approximately $2.75 trillion under the law.

In a similar trial in Texas in August, Jones was ordered to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of another child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting for calling the massacre a fraud. A forensic economist testified during this trial that Jones and Free Speech Systems have a combined net worth of up to $270 million.

Jones offers nutritional supplements, survival gear and other products on his show, which airs on the Infowars website and dozens of radio stations. Evidence at the Connecticut trial showed his sales soared around the time he was speaking out about the Sandy Hook shooting, leading plaintiffs’ attorneys to say he benefited from the tragedy.

In documents recently filed in Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy filing in Texas, the company’s budget for estimated product sales from October 29 through November 25 is $2.5 million, while operating expenses are approximately $740,000. dollars would be. Jones’ salary was reported as $20,000 every two weeks.

On Wednesday, Connecticut Judge Bellis ordered Jones not to take any of his assets out of the country as families seek to foreclose on his holdings to secure money for the damages. Jones, meanwhile, has asked the judge to order a new trial or at least reduce the damages to a “nominal” amount.

A third and final trial over Jones’ false reports is expected to begin in Texas later this year. As in Connecticut, Jones was found liable for damages without a trial in both cases in Texas for failing to turn over many records to the plaintiffs.

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