Alex Jones has to pay another $473 million to Sandy Hook families – on top of last month’s $1 BILLION
- Judge Barbara Bellis ordered $473 million in punitive damages on Thursday
- It comes on top of the $965 million in compensation he had to pay last month
- Jones, who claimed on his podcast that Sandy Hook was a hoax, laughed off the verdict
- He claims he is nowhere near the amount he has to pay and that the process was unfair
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company were ordered Thursday to pay an additional $473 million to the victims’ families and an FBI agent for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax, contributing to a jury verdict of nearly $1 billion enacted last month.
Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis ordered the damages to the Infowars host and Free Speech Systems. Jones repeatedly told his millions of followers that the massacre that killed 20 first-graders and six teachers was staged by “crisis actors” to bring about greater gun control.
Relatives of eight victims and the FBI agent testified in a month-long trial that they had been threatened and harassed for years by people who deny the shooting took place. Strangers showed up at some of their homes and confronted some of them in public. People threw insulting comments at them on social media and in emails. And some received death threats and rapes.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company were ordered Thursday to pay an additional $473 million to the victims’ families
Six jurors sentenced Jones to pay $965 million to compensate the 15 plaintiffs for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and violations of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act, which prohibits deceptive business practices and unfair competition.
Jones has dismissed the trial as unfair and an attack on free speech. He says he will appeal the verdicts. He also says he doesn’t have the money to pay such huge sentences because he has less than $2 million to his name — which contradicted testimony at a similar trial in Texas.
Free Speech Systems meanwhile seeks protection against bankruptcy.
Bellis last year found the parent company of Jones and Infowars liable without trial for damages, resulting from what she called its repeated failures to hand over many financial documents and other data to the plaintiffs. After the unusual “default” verdict, the jury was only charged with determining the amount of damages and whether the punitive damages were justified.
Connecticut Supreme Court Judge Barbara Bellis today ordered punitive damages
Jones says he handed over thousands of documents and the standard ruling stripped him of his right to defend himself against the lawsuit.
In Connecticut, punitive damages for defamation and infliction of emotional distress are generally limited to plaintiffs’ legal costs. The Sandy Hook plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive one-third of the $965 million in compensatory damages under a commission agreement — bringing their legal costs to $322 million.
But there is no limit to punitive damages for violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act. The plaintiffs had not asked for a specific amount of punitive damages, but according to one hypothetical calculation, they said such damages under the Unfair Trade Act could be about $2.75 trillion.
In a similar lawsuit in Texas in August, Jones was ordered to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of another child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting because they called the massacre a hoax. A forensic economist testified at the trial that Jones and Free Speech Systems have a combined fortune of as much as $270 million.
A third and final trial over Jones’ hoax claims is expected to begin in Texas around the end of the year.
As in Connecticut, Jones was held liable for damages without trial in both Texas cases for failing to hand over many records to the plaintiffs.