Alex Jones steps outside of the Travis County Courthouse, to do interviews with media after he was questioned under oath about text messages and emails by lawyer Mark Bankston, in Austin, Texas, US, August 3, 2022. — Briana Sanchez/Pool via Reuters
AUGUST 5 — Lawyers for parents of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting began presenting evidence on Alex Jones’s wealth as they seek punitive damages on top of US$4.1 million awarded by a Texas jury for the US conspiracy theorist’s false claims that the massacre was a hoax.
Forensic economist Bernard Pettingill today testified on behalf of the parents of slain 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, who say they suffered years of harassment after Jones spread falsehoods about the killing of 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.
“He promulgated some hate speech and some misinformation but he made a lot of money and he monetised that,” Pettingill said, describing Jones as a “very successful man.”
A 12-person jury on Thursday said Jones must pay the parents US$4.1 million in compensatory damages for spreading conspiracy theories about the massacre. Thath verdict followed a two-week trial in Austin, Texas, where Jones’ radio show and webcast Infowars are based.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis testified that Jones’ followers harassed them for years in the false belief that the parents lied about their son’s death.
Jones sought to distance himself from the conspiracy theories during his testimony, apologising to the parents and acknowledging that Sandy Hook was “100% real.”
Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems LLC, declared bankruptcy last week. Jones said during a Monday broadcast that the filing will help the company stay on the air while it appeals.
The bankruptcy declaration paused a similar defamation suit by Sandy Hook parents in Connecticut where, as in Texas, he has already been found liable. — Reuters