Alex Jones now owes $1.4 billion in damages for Sandy Hook defamation lawsuit, judge rules
A former FBI agent and families of eight victims killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are set to receive an additional half a billion dollars in damages from Infowars host Alex Jones, a Connecticut judge ruled Thursday.
Jones was ordered by a Connecticut jury last month to pay 15 plaintiffs $965 million for lies he told about the shooting, including that the massacre was a government-engineered “false flag” to take guns away from American citizens.
On Thursday, a Waterbury judge ordered him to pay an additional $473 million in punitive damages.
“Our hope is that this serves to reinforce the message of this case: Those who profit from lies targeting the innocent will face justice,” plaintiffs’ attorney Chris Mattei said.
Judge Barbara Bellis awarded two punitive damages in this case: one to cover attorneys’ fees and nontaxable costs for plaintiffs and another for a violation of the plaintiffs’ civil rights under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Bellis directed Jones to pay the families more than $320 million for attorneys’ fees, plus $1.5 million for nontaxable costs, as well as $150 million for the civil rights violation.
“The record clearly supports the plaintiffs’ argument that the defendant’s conduct was intentional and malicious, and certain to cause harm by virtue of their infrastructure, ability to spread content, and massive audience, including the ‘infowarriors,’” Bellis said in acourt filing Thursday.
Bellis acknowledged that damages could have been steeper. She opted to go with a “lesser ratio” for the civil rights violation, citing local law and the “substantial” damages award from the jury last month.
Jones’ attorney, meanwhile, characterized the ruling as a “farce.” He said it makes their appeal that much easier.
During the massacre, 20 first graders and six educators were killed.
Eight victims’ relatives and the FBI agent testified during last month's trial about being threatened and harassed for years by people who deny the shooting happened. Strangers showed up at some of their homes and confronted some of them in public. People hurled abusive comments at them on social media and in emails. And some received death and rape threats.
Catch up on coverage from last month's defamation trial:
Trial, week 4: Closing arguments and jury deliberations
The Associated Press contributed to this report.