On October 12, 2022, a Connecticut jury decided that conspiracy theorist and “Infowars” proprietor, Alex Jones, should pay a total of at least $965 million dollars to 15 plaintiffs who sued him for defamation based on false claims that he promoted and profited from through his media empire on various social media platforms regarding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, in which 26 people, 20 of whom were Kindergartners between six and seven years old. Whereas the nation and beyond mourned the senseless and horrific violence inflicted on the innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary, Mr. Jones apparently saw the incident as a lucrative financial opportunity that he could exploit to his followers. Mr. Jones baselessly and repeatedly claimed that the Sandy Hook massacre was a “false flag” operation staged by gun control advocates and that the very real families of the victims and first responders were paid “crisis actors.” Testimony in the Connecticut trial detailed how, as a result of Mr. Jones’s demonstrably false claims, the Sandy Hook families who had already suffered the worst type of loss imaginable were then continuously subjected to years of targeted harassment and death threats by Mr. Jones’s followers, including at their own homes and even at the graves of their deceased children.
The Alex Jones Verdict stems from false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre
The verdict in the Connecticut suit was just the latest entered against Mr. Jones stemming from the false claims that he spread about the Sandy Hook massacre. In August of 2022, a similar lawsuit brought in Mr. Jones’s home state of Texas resulted in an initial verdict of $4.1 million in damages, plus an additional $45.2 million in punitive damages. Expert testimony in the Texas trial estimated that Jones and his companies are worth between $135 to $270 million. In both the Texas and Connecticut litigations, default judgments were entered against Mr. Jones after he repeatedly failed to comply with court orders to produce witnesses and relevant materials and he was found to be in contempt of court in the Texas litigation. One Texas judge characterized Mr. Jones’s conduct during one of the cases brought against him as “flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules.” Additional lawsuits have been commenced against Jones and his companies accusing him of deliberately hiding and concealing assets worth millions of dollars after the defamation suits were brought against him.
While no amount of money can bring back the children and faculty members whose lives were taken from them at Sandy Hook Elementary, there is hope that the judgments entered against Mr. Jones will serve as a deterrent to him and others who similarly peddle baseless conspiracy theories and outright falsities for their own financial gain, with complete disregard for the very real and long-lasting consequences that such claims have on their innocent victims.