The lawyer of parents whose child was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School has demanded $150 million from Alex Jones for the additional trauma he caused them.
In 2012, the lives of 26 children and staff members were taken by 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza.
Alex Jones, the owner of American far-right conspiracy theory and fake news website, Infowars, was found guilty by default on 15 November, 2021 in all four defamation cases filed by the families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims, for spreading false conspiracy theories about the tragedy.
The parents of one of the 20 children who were murdered have since called for a hefty sum of damages from Jones because of the false claims the conspiracy theorist spread about them online, subjecting them to years of harassment.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis - parents to six-year-old Jesse, who was one of the victims - are suing Jones for the false claims he spread on Infowars for years after the tragedy.
Jones made a whole host of accusations in response to the school shooting, from alleging the shooting had been faked by the government and that all the families were complicit in the plan, to claiming it had been part of an attempt by the government to enforce stricter gun laws.
On Tuesday, 26 July, the parents' lawyer, Mark Bankston, stated that the suffering Jones inflicted on the families of the victims should result in the conspiracy theorist paying a total sum of $150 million (£124,569,450).
The final sum was decided in response to a total of one single dollar being suggested by Jones' lawyer Federico Reynal. Reynal argued no amount of money would ever equate to the value of someone's life.
In opening statements of Alex Jones defamation damages trial, plaintiffs tell jury they'll be asking for $150 million total in compensation for parents and punitive damages— Jim Vertuno (@JimVertuno) July 26, 2022
A video was played to the court of Jones mocking the cries of the victims' parents in footage dating back to 25 September 2014, which had been broadcast via Infowars.
In the clip, Jones claimed the children were still alive and that the shooting had been a hoax.
Bankston noted: "Jones said there were photos of victims still alive. This is so disgusting, so repulsive, that I feel silly standing here and telling you that’s false."
In July 2017, Heslin sat down with TODAY's Megyn Kelly with a message for Jones in a bid to try and combat the constant accusations and harassment of the victims' families.
The father said: "I lost my son. I buried my son. I held my son with a bullet hole in his head. I dropped him off at 9:04am, that's when we dropped him off at school with his book bag. Hours later I was picking him up in a body bag."
However, despite the desperate plea, Jones maintained his attack on the family and continued to brand them liars.
"Fact checkers on this have said it cannot be accurate. He's [Heslin] claiming that he held his son and saw the bullet hole in his head. According to a timeline of events and a coroners testimony that is not possible," Jones stated on an Infowars broadcast.
Bankston told the court: "Now, every single time Neil Heslin has to think about the last moments he spent with Jesse, he also has to think about this horrible man."
Bankston also argued that Jones had not only lied but profited financially off of the spreading of his conspiracy theories.
"For 10 years, Mr. Jones has robbed Neil and Scarlett of the time they needed to heal over the violent death of their son Jesse, because Mr. Jones wanted to sell more of his products.
"That is a huge verdict, to be sure, but it is one that will do justice to the level of harm done in this case," he said.
On Tuesday, 26 July, Jones' lawyer called Bankston's statement 'a conspiracy of lies' and argued Jones wasn't the ring-leader in spreading false claims, but that he simply relayed the false beliefs of others.
He also said Jones has suffered enough from the loss of social media followers. "He regrets what he did, and he’s paying a price for it," Reynal stated.
However, Bankston accused Jones of 'continually churning out this idea that Sandy Hook was fake' and resolved that Jones' false claims are 'the most despicable and vile campaign of defamation and slander in American history'.
Jones will face the other defamation cases which he lost through default judgements later this year in September.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677