Alex Jones forced to pay $49.3 million in damages to parents of Sandy Hook victims
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Alex Jones has been forced to pay $49.3 million (£40.8m) in damages to parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The conspiracy theorist falsely described the massacre, which saw 20 children and six educators killed, as a hoax.
It has gone down as the deadliest classroom shooting in US history.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among those who sadly lost their life, were awarded $4.1 million (£3.4m) in compensatory damages.
However, in the final phase of the two-week trial, the same Austin jury came back and added an additional $45.2 million (£37.4m) in punitive damages.
Punitive damages are basically meant to punish defendants for particularly hurtful types of conduct.
“You have the ability to stop this man from ever doing it again,” attorney Wesley Ball told the jury.
It is unclear how much money Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, has.
An economist hired by the plaintiffs testified that Jones and the company are worth up to $270 million (£224m).
Jones previously testified that any award over $2 million (£1.6m) would 'sink us'.
Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy protection during the trial’s first week.
Jones still faces two other defamation lawsuits from Sandy Hook families in Texas and Connecticut.
In a shock twist in the most recent trial, Jones' entire phone records from the past two years were accidentally sent to one of the prosecution lawyers.
"Your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you sent for the past two years," lawyer Mark Bankston told Jones while he was on the witness stand.
"That is how I know you lied to me when you said you didn't have text messages about Sandy Hook."
The records may now be subpoenaed by the government committee investigating the Capitol riots in regards to Jones' alleged links to attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 Presidential election.
Bankston told reporters outside court on Thursday (August 4) that his clients were not disappointed with the sum awarded by the jury.
"We aren't done folks," the attorney said.
"We knew coming into this case it was necessary to shoot for the moon to get the jury to understand we were serious and passionate. After tomorrow, he's going to owe a lot more."
Once regarded as the most influential conspiracy theorist in America, Jones' influence has been on the wane ever since his talkshow was indefinitely purged from YouTube in 2018.
Just last week, the show's parent company, Free Speech Systems LLC, was declared bankrupt, with Infowars itself now only streamable on its own independently ran website.
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