BREAKING: Alex Jones’s bank account.
A Texas jury on Friday ordered Infowars’ Alex Jones to pay $49.3 million in total damages to the parents of a first-grader killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which the conspiracy theorist falsely called a hoax orchestrated by the government in order to tighten U.S. gun laws. Earlier this week, Jones testified that any award over $2 million would “sink us.” His company Free Speech Systems, which is Infowars’ parent company, filed for bankruptcy protection during the first week of the trial.
The amount is less than the $150 million sought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators killed in the deadliest classroom shooting in U.S. history. The trial is the first time Jones has been held financially liable for peddling lies about the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
— Cliff Schecter (@cliffschecter) August 5, 2022
Jurors at first awarded Heslin and Lewis $4.1 million in compensatory damages, which Jones called a major victory. But in the final phase of the two-week trial, the same Austin jury came back and tacked on an additional $45.2 million in punitive damages.
MUST WATCH: Alex Jones Caught Redhanded
Judge – “So Mr. Jones was too ignorant to know that he was lying. Is that your defense?”
— Newpinion (@BrandanMeister) August 5, 2022
Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for particularly egregious conduct, beyond monetary compensation awarded to the individuals they hurt. A high punitive award is also seen as a chance for jurors to send a wider societal message and a way to deter others from the same abhorrent conduct in the future.
Verdict: Alex Jones owes $45.2 million more to Sandy Hook in punitive damages. That's on top of $4.1 million in compensatory.
That's $49.3 million to two Sandy Hook families. Two more trials after this.
Unanimous verdict (what's required for punitive damages).
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) August 5, 2022
Jones — who was in the courtroom briefly Friday but not there for the verdict — still faces two other defamation lawsuits from Sandy Hook families in Texas and Connecticut that put his personal wealth and media empire in jeopardy.