Two Sandy Hook parents suffered 4 million in damages from Alex Jones, There will be about $4 million in compensatory damages for right-wing talk show host Alex Jones to pay the parents of the Sandy Hook massacre victim. A jury decided this Thursday, capping an amazing and dramatic case that demonstrated to the public real-world harm caused by viral conspiracy theories.
Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin received significantly less than they had requested in their lawsuit from the jury. A jury was instructed to award Lewis and Heslin’s clients $150 million in compensatory damages at the commencement of the trial.
Punitive damages are now scheduled to be examined in a new, shorter trial. Because of the defendant’s obnoxious behavior, courts may award punitive damages.
Attorney Mark Bankston for the parents said they were “thrilled” with the jury’s verdict, stressing that the panel hasn’t “even considered punitive damages” yet, CNN reported.
Despite the jury’s judgment, Lewis and Heslin’s lawsuit against Jones and his firm, Free Speech Systems, which is the parent of the right-wing media group Infowars, has been a lengthy process that began in 2018.
After the Sandy Hook massacre that left 26 dead, Jones uttered the ludicrous claim that the incident was manufactured. When faced with many lawsuits, Jones admitted that the shooting had taken place. During his testimony this week, he stated that he now believes it to be “100 percent real.” “
However, Jones disobeyed court directions throughout the discovery phase of the lawsuit.. Due to Jones’s refusal to appear, Heslin and Lewis were awarded default judgments against him.
Heslin and Lewis suffered emotional anguish as a result of an October 2016 ruling by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who held Jones legally liable for their suffering. Jones was also found guilty of defaming Heslin by Gamble.
An award of just $2 million would bankrupt Jones, he asserted in his testimony.
According to testimony given on Wednesday in bankruptcy court by the accountant in charge of Jones’ company Free Speech Systems, the parent of his conspiracy-theory media outlet Infowars, Jones took about $62 million out of the company over 14 years, of which about $30 million was paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Infowars got around $9 million in cryptocurrency donations, according to the accountant, and “they went directly to Mr. Jones.” the accountant testified.
To punish Jones so harshly comes at a time when lies and conspiracy theories have become increasingly commonplace in American society.
Although the jury’s judgment was significantly less than what the plaintiffs’ attorneys requested, it sends a message to those who spread falsehoods for political or financial gain that there can be consequences.
Sandy Hook family attorneys urged the jury that “speech is free, but lies you must pay for” during their opening comments and closing arguments.
Jones’ lies tarnished their son Jesse’s reputation and plagued them for years while they testified in court, Heslin and Lewis told the jurors.
Heslin, who had to fight back tears during his testimony, said that Jones had “tarnished the honor and memory” of his son through his conspiracy-theory media outlet Infowars. When asked about the nine-and-a-half years of agony he’s been through due of Jones, Heslin stated, “I can’t even begin to express the last nine-and-a-half years of hell.”
As the trial progressed, Lewis called directly to Jones and said she wanted to speak to him in person.
Lewis told Jones, “Jesse was real.” A real mother says, “I’m here for you.”
In her testimony to the jury, Lewis stated that she believes monetary damages were necessary because she believes Jones will never cease his actions otherwise.
According to her, “It’s time for an apology,” she stated. “The only time I can think of is when you’re in an accident and you run over someone, injuring them severely, and you say, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m not responsible for what I just caused.” However, I must say that I am deeply sorry.’ That is my interpretation.”
During the trial, Lewis also pondered the significance of the fact that it had to take place.
That we must do this, Lewis informed Jones, was astonishing to him. “That we have to punish you, not only beseech you but also to make you stop lying… What’s happening in here is bizarre.”
Three trials are set to begin in the coming months, the first of which will take place in Texas.
Some of Sandy Hook’s victims sued Jones in a separate case in Connecticut. As a result of the families’ success in obtaining an order of default against Jones, a trial was set to begin in September of that year. It is possible that the trial will be postponed as a result of Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy filing, which halted jury selection on the same day it began earlier this week.
Several Sandy Hook families’ attorneys claim that Jones has depleted the assets of Free Speech Systems in recent years to shield himself from any judgments he may be required to pay.
Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy declaration revealed that $62 million in assets had been removed from the company in 2021 and 2022, according to one of the attorneys, Avi Moshenberg.
According to Moshenberg’s CNN interview, Alex Jones, the sole owner of Free Speech Systems, collected $62 million in draws in 2021 and 2022 before the bankruptcy filing. “Straight-forward doodles. As a result, there are few assets in the company.”