A Texas jury awarded $45.2 million to the parents of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on Friday, damages that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones will have to pay for continuously calling the mass shooting “a hoax.”
The punitive damages are in addition to the $4.1 million in compensatory damages that Jones was ordered to pay the parents a day earlier—the first time he was held financially responsible for his lies about the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, Axios reported.
The total — $49.3 million — is less than the $145.9 million in punitive damages and $150 million in compensatory damages sought by Neil Heslin spirit Scarlett Lewiswhose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed at the school, according to Reuters.
The parents’ lawyer said on Friday: “Stop Alex Jones. Stop the monetization of misinformation and lies.” In response, Jones’ lawyer said that Jones had repeatedly apologized and offered to host the parents on his show.
The Connecticut State Attorney’s 48-page report on the massacre does not reveal why, on December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his mother in her bed before traveling to the school where he murdered 20 first-graders and six adults before taking his own life.
For years, the Infowars host falsely claimed that the shooting was a “giant hoax” conspired by the government, which planted “crisis actors” on the scene to make a case for tightening gun laws. However, during the trial, he conceded that he believed the massacre was “100% real.”
“Care and concern is so important and we saw what happens when there is a dearth of that, and so I hope that we all just go home tonight and everybody that’s reading these articles and hearing this message and you chose love with your kids, because you can,” plaintiff Lewis said after the jury’s decision.
Earlier this week, Jones initiated Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings for Infowars’ parent company Free Speech Systems. This is the second time this year that the company has declared bankruptcy.
Jones was already found liable for defamation by default last year after refusing to turn over documents. The conspiracy theorist also was accused of committing perjury, as he had said under oath that he didn’t have any messages that contained “Sandy Hook” on his phone, but his lawyers accidentally sent two years’ worth of his email and phone records to the opposing lawyers; the material seems to contradict his previous claim.
The January 6 committee requested Jones’ phone records as part of its investigation into the Capitol attack. Jones was initially subpoenaed by the committee in November to look into whether he spread misinformation about the 2020 election and his involvement in January 6 rallies.