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Alex Jones ordered to pay $45.2 million more for Sandy Hook lies

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas jury on Friday ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. , on top of the $4.1 million he must pay for the suffering he passed on by claiming for years that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax.

The total – $49.3 million – is lower than the $150 million sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among 20 children and six educators killed in the classroom shooting last night. deadliest in US history. But the lawsuit marks the first time Jones has been held financially responsible for peddling lies about the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.

After the verdict, Lewis said Jones – who was not in the courtroom to hear the verdict – was held accountable. She said when she took the helm and looked Jones in the eye, she thought of her son who was credited with saving lives by shouting “run” when the killer stopped in his rampage.

“He stood up to bully Adam Lanza and saved the lives of nine of his classmates,” Lewis said. “I hope I did justice to that incredible courage when I got to face off against Alex Jones, who is also a bully. I hope it inspires others to do the same.

It could take some time for complainants to get anything back. Immediately after the verdict, Jones’ lead attorney, Andino Reynal, told the judge he would appeal and ask the courts to significantly reduce the size of the verdict.

After the hearing, Reynal said he believed the punitive amount would be reduced to just $1.5 million.

“We think the verdict was too high. … Alex Jones will be on air today, he will be on air tomorrow, he will be on air next week. He will continue to do his job by holding the power structure accountable.

Jones’ businesses and personal wealth could also be cut by further lawsuits and bankruptcies. Another defamation lawsuit against Jones by a Sandy Hook family is set to begin preliminary hearings in the same Austin court on September 14.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Bankston said he thought he could challenge any attempts to reduce damages. But he said that even if the price is significantly reduced, it is just as important to take the big verdict to bankruptcy court so that the family can claim against Jones’ estate and company.

Earlier this week, Jones said any award above $2 million would “sink us”. His company Free Speech Systems, which is the Austin-based parent company of Infowars, filed for bankruptcy during the first week of the trial.

Punitive damages are intended to punish defendants for particularly egregious conduct, beyond the monetary compensation awarded to those they injured. A high punitive award is also seen as a chance for jurors to send a broader societal message and a way to deter others from the same heinous conduct in the future.

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