A jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $4.1m (£3.3m) in damages to the parents of a six-year-old boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 students and six teachers killed in the attack in Connecticut, successfully sued Jones and his media company Free Speech Systems for defamation in October 2021.
The Infowars radio programme host had repeatedly claimed the deadliest school shooting in US history was a hoax and staged by gun-control activists using actors.
A jury in Texas has now ruled he is liable for damages totalling $4.1m (£3.3m).
On Thursday, Jones filed a motion for a mistrial, but the judge in Texas denied the request.
During the trial to determine the amount of damages the parents should be awarded, Jones admitted the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was ” 100% real “.
Lying under oath
But Mr Heslin and Ms Lewis told jurors an apology would not suffice, and called on them to make Jones pay for the years of suffering he has put them and other Sandy Hook families through.
Kyle Farrar, one of Jesse’s parents’ lawyers, said they were “very pleased with the verdict”.
Mark Bankston, another of their team, had accused Jones in court of approaching the trial in bad faith, citing broadcasts where he said the trial was rigged against him.
He showed a video of Jones saying in his broadcast on Friday that the jury pool was full of people who “don’t know what planet they’re on”.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble reprimanded Jones on Tuesday for not telling the truth under oath after he falsely told the court he was bankrupt and had complied with discovery in the case.
The 12-person jury will next consider the parents’ request for as much as $75m (£62m) in punitive damages from Jones for spreading falsehoods about the killing of the students and teachers from the Connecticut school in December 2012.
Punitive damages are those over and above the basic compensation amount, designed to punish the defendant.
Trial consultant Jill Huntley Taylor said it is not uncommon for a jury to award higher punitive damages than compensatory ones.
“If jurors’ motivation for an award is their anger at the defendant, then they often award a bigger punitive damage
Lawyers for Jones have not yet commented on the outcome so far.
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