Waterbury, CT – A Connecticut jury ordered “Infowars” host Alex Jones to pay nearly $1 billion in damages in connection with a defamation case filed by families of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
The jury determined on Oct. 12 that Jones deserved to be held financially liable for his repeated claims that the horrific school shooting that left 20 first-graders and six staff members dead was a hoax.
Jones claimed the mass shooting was staged by actors who were following a script written by the government as a plot to drum up support for stripping American citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights, ABC News reported.
Chris Mattei, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, asked the six jurors at the conclusion of the trial to order Jones to pay $550 million for slander and emotional distress.
The jury came back with a verdict of $965 million, plus attorney fees and costs, according to CBS News.
The figure amounts to as much as $120 for a single plaintiff, who include Sandy Hook families and former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent William Aldenberg.
The plaintiffs said they were harassed and tormented by Jones’ followers for years, to include many of them receiving death threats, CBS News reported.
Jones was on the air with his radio program when the verdict was returned, according to ABC News.
“This must be what hell is like,” he said. “They just read out the damages, even though you don’t got the money.”
Jones promised his listeners that he will appeal the decision, Reuters reported.
“We’re fighting Goliath,” he told them.
Jones admitted during another recent defamation trial in Austin, Texas, that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre – one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history – was indeed “100 percent real” and that he had lied about it being a hoax.
Jones repeatedly attempted to paint himself as a victim during his testimony in that case, claiming his identity had been “stolen” by the mainstream media who portrayed him as a “monster” for talking about the school massacre on his show, The Texas Tribune reported.
He refused to apologize to the Sandy Hook families during the trial in Connecticut, commenting that he believed he has already apologized enough, according to ABC News.
One more trial is still pending.
Jones previously said that any award exceeding $2 million would “sink” him, according to the Associated Press.
He was ordered to pay just under $50 million as a result of the Texas case, ABC News reported.
“Infowars’” parent company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
Avi Moshenberg, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the Texas case, said that the reason the company was failing was because Jones had drained $62 million in assets from it over the past two years leading up to the trial, CNN reported.
“If you look at the bankruptcy filing, leading up to the declaration of bankruptcy, Alex Jones, the sole owner [of Free Speech Systems], took $62 million in draws in 2021 and 2022,” Moshenberg said. “Just straight up draws. That’s why the company has few assets.”
Mattei praised the “historic verdict” outside the courtroom on Wednesday afternoon, CNN reported.
“For over a month in this courthouse, this jury bore witness to Alex Jones’ 10-year attack on the families standing behind me,” he said. “An attack that made him very rich, an attack that exploited the fears and resentments of his audience. An attack that targeted these families with the lie that they were frauds.”
The attorney said his clients refused to allow their children’s deaths to be “cheap props” for Jones to use to make money, CNN reported.
He praised them for their compassion and commitment and said their courage has been inspirational.
“[The] jury’s verdict is a testament to that courage,” Mattei added.