HARTFORD, Conn. — Radio show personality Alex Jones has been ordered to pay an additional $473 million in punitive damages for stating on air his beliefs that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a government orchestrated hoax.
The ruling came down Thursday by Connecticut Judge Barabara Bellis who ordered Jones to pay the sum in addition to a nearly $1 billion jury verdict issued last month.
The Infowars host was sued by an FBI agent and Sandy Hook victims’ families over his claims that the mass shooting, in which 20 first graders and six personnel were killed, was staged by “crisis actors” to justify stricter gun control laws.
In October six jurors ordered Jones to pay $965 million to the 15 plaintiffs for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and violations of Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act, which bans deceptive business practices and unfair competition.
Jones has since doubled down on his claims that the case against him was a “witch hunt” and that the suit violated his Constitutional right to free speech.
Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems, which is also named in the suit, is seeking bankruptcy protection.
CONNECTICUT — A Connecticut jury has rendered a judgement against Alex Jones in the amount of $965 million over his claims the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax.
Jurors deliberated for three days after a five week trial. Multiple family members from the Sandy Hook shooting, as well as an FBI agent who responded to the 2012 event, sued Jones over his claims that the shooting was a false flag staged by the federal government in order to justify stricter gun control laws.
It was the second such trial to be held within the last three months, with a Texas jury finding Jones liable for more than $45 million in damages to a pair of Sandy Hook parents last August.
AUSTIN (AP)— A Texas jury on Thursday ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, marking the first time the Infowars host has been held financially liable for repeatedly claiming the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history was a hoax.
The Austin jury must still decide how much the Infowars host must pay in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six educators who were killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
The parents had sought at least $150 million in compensation for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Jones’ attorney asked the jury to limit damages to $8 — one dollar for each of the compensation charges they are considering — and Jones himself said any award over $2 million “would sink us.”
It likely won’t be the last judgment against Jones — who was not in the courtroom — over his claims that the attack was staged in the interests of increasing gun controls. A Connecticut judge has ruled against him in a similar lawsuit brought by other victims’ families and an FBI agent who worked on the case.
Outside the courthouse Thursday, the plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Bankston insisted that the $4.11 million amount wasn’t a disappointment, noting it was only part of the damages Jones will have to pay.
The jury returns Friday to hear more evidence about Jones and his company’s finances.
“We aren’t done folks,” Bankston said. “We knew coming into this case it was necessary to shoot for the moon to get to understand we were serious and passionate. After tomorrow, he’s going to owe a lot more.”
The total amount awarded in this case could set a marker for the other lawsuits against Jones and underlines the financial threat he’s facing. It also raises new questions about the ability of Infowars — which has been banned from YouTube, Spotify and Twitter for hate speech — to continue operating, although the company’s finances remain unclear.
Jones, who has portrayed the lawsuit as an attack on his First Amendment rights, conceded during the trial that the attack was “100% real” and that he was wrong to have lied about it. But Heslin and Lewis told jurors that an apology wouldn’t suffice and called on them to make Jones pay for the years of suffering he has put them and other Sandy Hook families through.
The parents testified Tuesday about how they’ve endured a decade of trauma, inflicted first by the murder of their son and what followed: gun shots fired at a home, online and phone threats, and harassment on the street by strangers. They said the threats and harassment were all fueled by Jones and his conspiracy theory spread to his followers via his website Infowars.
A forensic psychiatrist testified that the parents suffer from “complex post-traumatic stress disorder” inflicted by ongoing trauma, similar to what might be experienced by a soldier at war or a child abuse victim.
At one point in her testimony, Lewis looked directly at Jones, who was sitting barely 10 feet away.
“It seems so incredible to me that we have to do this — that we have to implore you, to punish you — to get you to stop lying,” Lewis told Jones.
Jones was the only witness to testify in his defense. And he came under withering attack from the plaintiffs attorneys under cross-examination, as they reviewed Jones’ own video claims about Sandy Hook over the years, and accused him of lying and trying to hide evidence, including text messages and emails about the attack. It also included internal emails sent by an Infowars employee that said “this Sandy Hook stuff is killing us.”
At one point, Jones was told that his attorneys had mistakenly sent Bankston the last two years’ worth of texts from Jones’ cellphone. Bankston said in court Thursday that the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has requested the records and that he intends to comply.
And shortly after Jones declared “I don’t use email,” Jones was shown one that came from his address, and another one from an Infowars business officer telling Jones that the company had earned $800,000 gross in selling its products in a single day, which would amount to nearly $300 million in a year.
Jones’ media company Free Speech Systems, which is Infowars’ parent company, filed for bankruptcy during the two-week trial.
The Associated Press’s Jim Vertuno contributed to the contents of this report.
AUSTIN, Tx. — Alex Jones now says a form of “psychosis” caused him to previously doubt the events at Sandy Hook took place and that he now believes there was no conspiracy involved.
Jones, who is the subject of eight lawsuits by some of the Sandy Hook families, was questioned for more than three hours last week by the Texas law firm Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball, LLP.
He had previously promoted the theory on this wildly popular radio show “Infowars” that the reported school shooting, in which twenty children and six adults were killed in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012, was a staged event by the Obama administration to justify stricter gun control.
“We’ve clearly got people where it’s actors playing different parts of different people,” one suit quotes Jones as saying in March 2014. “I’ve looked at it and undoubtedly there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it.”
“I, myself, have almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’ve now learned a lot of times things aren’t staged,” Jones told attorneys during the deposition. “So I think as a pundit, someone giving an opinion, that, you know, my opinions have been wrong, but they were never wrong consciously to hurt people.”
Jones also blamed the “trauma of the media and the corporations lying so much” for causing him to question the government’s motives. “Kind of like a child whose parents lie to them over and over again,” he said.
“So long before these lawsuits, I said that in the past I thought everything was a conspiracy and I would kind of get into that mass groupthink of the communities that were out saying that,” Jones added. “And so now I see that it’s more in the middle. … So that’s where I stand.”
“The public doesn’t believe what they’re told anymore,” he said.
Jones, who has famously said the terror attacks that took place on Sept. 11 were an “inside job” and that bombings in Oklahoma City and at the Boston Marathon were “false flags” staged by crisis actors on behalf of the government, was thrown off most major social media platforms in 2018 as a result of his conspiracy claims.
Jones now claims that his comments were taken “all out of context” and that the quotes attributed to him aren’t “even what I said or my intent.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Jacob Wohl became the latest conservative to be banned by Twitter Tuesday after the social media giant suspended his account, claiming the 21-year-old had violated it’s platform’s rules.
Wohl, an outspoken supporter of Israel and President Donald Trump, had garnered more than 180,000 followers prior to his ban.
“The account was suspended for multiple violations of the Twitter Rules,” a Twitter spokesperson said Tuesday, “specifically creating and operating fake accounts.”
Wohl denied those allegations when reached by USA Today for comment on Tuesday.
“I’ve had accounts for my businesses and my future think tank but that’s about it,” Wohl said, adding that all of those accounts had been “nuked” as a result of his suspension. “I’ve not created fake accounts or bot armies or anything like that.”
Wohl is just the latest in a series of conservative commentators and outspoken Trump supporters to be banned by Twitter.
In late 2018 Twitter permanently suspended the account of Laura Loomer, another outspoken supporter of Israel and Trump.
Loomer, who had amassed more than 260,000 followers on the social-media platform prior to her suspension, was banned for “violating Twitter rules against hateful conduct” after she sent a tweet criticizing Minnesota Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her Muslim faith.
In the tweet in question, Loomer called Omar “anti-Jewish” and called the Muslim religion one in which “homosexuals are oppressed” and “women are abused” and “forced to wear the hijab.”
“I’ve been silenced in America,” Loomer said in a video posted to YouTube in response to her Twitter ban. “Everything I said is 100 percent true and factual. It’s not malicious, it’s not mean, it’s not hateful.”
In 2018 Twitter was also one of several major social media networks to suspend Alex Jones from their platform.
Jones’ suspension came one day after the Texas-based talk show host tweeted a video of himself confronting a CNN reporter and accusing him of censorship.
In a statement posted to its website, Twitter claimed Jones’ actions violated its platform’s rules against “abusive behavior.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced a wave of backlash on Monday after it was revealed that the social media giant had banned conservative pundit and Iraq war veteran Jesse Kelly.
Kelly, a former Marine who ran for Congress in Arizona in 2010 and 2012, is the host of a nationally syndicated conservative talk radio program based out of Houston.
The news sparked a wave of anger from fellow conservatives who viewed the ban as yet another attack on the right.
“@JesseKellyDC just shared this with me,” tweeted combat vet and author Sean Parnell. “He’s permanently banned with no explanation. He broke no rules. This madness has to stop.”
“Jesse Kelly just showed me the final verdict: Twitter has permanently banned him.
His account is gone and will not be restored, according to Twitter support,” tweeted conservative broadcaster Buck Sexton. “No warnings, no appeals. They’ve ghosted him.”
“The ppl who decided to ban Jesse Kelly and the ppl who are cheering his ban are not only unfair, tyrannical, and lame, they are also pitifully humorless,” Providence Magazine’s Rebeccah Heinrichs tweeted.
“Conservabros who defended tech censorship see the world differently now that Jesse Kelly has been suspended,” journalist and documentary film maker Mike Cernovich wrote.
Kelly’s ban is just the latest in what Republicans have claimed is an ongoing “war on conservatives”.
In September, outspoken right-wing altertative news giant Alex Jones was banned from most social media platforms, including Twitter on the grounds of “hate speech”.
Independent journalist Laura Loomer was also banned by Twitter and Facebook last week for criticizing the practice of female genital mutilation, which is a common practice in the Muslim faith.
“When we permanently suspend an account, we notify people that they have been suspended for abuse violations, and explain which policy or policies they have violated and which content was in violation,” Twitter says on its website.
According to those who have spoken to Kelly in the wake of his ban, no notification or reason was given in this case.
WASHINGTON (The Daily Caller) — The Washington Post reported that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon testified for the Grand Jury yesterday regarding his communications with me regarding the Wikileaks disclosures in October 2016.
The Special Counsel is reportedly probing whether I somehow directed or urged Wikileaks to release the allegedly hacked e-mails from the DNC in the wake of the Billy Bush accusations against Trump on Oct. 7. I did not — and there is no evidence to the contrary. In fact, Wikileaks Publisher Julian Assange announced his release schedule on Oct. 2.
When Assange held a press event Oct. 2 (Oct. 3 U.S. time) and did not release any documents that day as had been widely expected, Bannon e-mailed me asking why.
I had long predicted an October release based on Assange’s June 2016 CNN interview with Anderson Cooper in which he said he had a trove of documents on Hillary and would release them. I had been told this would come in October for months by my source Randy Credico who I identified for the House Intelligence committee.
Then Bannon (or his hatchet man Sam Nunberg) leaked this e-mail exchange to the various media outlets.
The source of Assange’s Security Concerns came from Credico
When Assange made no disclosures on October 1st, Alex Jones was among those publicly m*therfucking Assange for losing his nerve. Credico told me that Assange had demurred on October 1st because of the concerns of one of his lawyers, Daniel Ellsberg, about threats to Assange’s life if he went forward with the disclosures. Remember, Hillary Clinton actually advocated the use of a drone strike to kill Assange in London, in order to prevent the disclosure of what she knew he had.
Credico told me that Secretary of State John Kerry had astonishingly gone to British Prime Minister Teresa May and asked that Britain rescind its diplomatic recognition of Ecuador for one day, stripping Assange of his asylum, so that United and British authorities could storm the Embassy and seize Assange …
Credico predicted that Assange “would do the right thing” and in fact Assange announced the schedule of a serious of forthcoming disclosures in his October 2nd remarks, which was little noticed by the press. He would follow this schedule to devastating effect.
More importantly my prediction of “a load every week going forward” is based on Assange’s own public announcement hours before-that there would be weekly releases going through and beyond the election and not any communication with Wikileaks or Assange. Politico reported this.
When Bannon’s minion Matt Boyle asked me if what Assange had was “good” I replied it was, based on Credico’s insistence the material was “devastating,” “bombshell” and would “change the race.” This turned out to be right, although — as I have testified — I never knew the content or source of the Wikileaks disclosures in advance.
Bannon’s animus toward me stems from a column I wrote for the Daily Caller arguing that he had outlived his usefulness in the Trump White House and should be fired. The next day, he was.
Bannon also told the Washington Post that the idea to bring the woman victims to the debate was his while the paper trail tells a very different story.
If the Grand Jury was told that either of my comments to Bannon were based on anything other than information I had already attributed to my source under oath or information reported publicly that day, they were misled.
What I am guilty of is using publicly available information and a solid tip to bluff, posture, hype and punk Democrats on Twitter. This is called “politics.” It’s not illegal.
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Alex Jones and Marco Rubio on Wednesday went head to head outside a hearing over internet censorship with the pair nearly coming to blows in a physical exchange.
Jones, an often colorful alternative news journalist approached Rubio as the Florida senator was being interviewed by a team of waiting press regarding Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who was facing questions from a House committee on whether or not his social media platform had ever “shadow banned” conservatives.
Confronting Rubio before the cameras, Jones, who recently had his social media accounts shut down by Facebook and Youtube, claimed Republicans like Rubio are guilty of pretending that unfair censorship “doesn’t exist.”
After interrupting Rubio’s interview several times in an effort to get Rubio to respond to his allegations, Jones touched the former Republican presidential candidate on the arm and asked for a direct response.
“Hey, don’t touch me again, man,” Rubio said to Jones. “I’m asking you not to touch me again.”
“Sure, I just patted you nicely,” Jones replied while standing to Rubio’s right in the Senate hallway.
“But I don’t want to be touched. I don’t know who you are,” Rubio replied.
Outraged at the rebuff, Jones went on to accuse Rubio of being a liar. “You know exactly who I am,” Jones shouted. “You want me to get arrested, but you can’t shut me up.”
“You’re not going to get arrested,” Rubio replied. “I’ll take care of you myself.”
Seeming to relish Rubio’s response, Jones then accused Rubio of threatening to “beat him up” and referred to him as a “little gangster thug.”
Rubio then answered one more reporter’s question, as Jones carried on, remarking, “I’ll leave you to interview this clown.”
Alex Jones, at the height of his show’s popularity, had millions of subscribers to both his Facebook pages and YouTube channels.
Conservative media have challenged social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter with claims that they censor pages that support President Donald Trump or other conservative causes. Both sites have publicly denied those claims.
AUSTIN, TX — Conservative radio show hose Alex Jones has been served with multi-million dollar lawsuits by parents of several of the alleged victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.
Jones, who has long publicly challenged the official story surrounding the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, has questioned whether the shooting may have been a staged “false flag” event, intended to sway public opinion toward increased gun control.
“Undoubtedly, there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying, and they were pre-planning before it,” Jones said during a March 2014 broadcast of his nationally aired radio show “InfoWars”.
According to the suits, which were filed in Travis County, Texas early Tuesday, three of the parents of the children said to have died during the shooting, Neil Heslin, Leonard Pozner and his ex-wife Veronique De La Rosa, are accusing Jones of defamation.
A lawyer representing the parents said in a statement that the families have been traumatized by Jones’ claims.
“Our clients have been tormented for five years by Mr. Jones’s ghoulish accusations that they are actors who faked their children’s deaths as part of a fraud on the American people,” Mark Bankston, lead attorney in the case, said on Tuesday. “Enough is enough.”
In his suit, Heslin cites another comment made by Jones during a November 2016 broadcast in which Jones suggested the parents who were interviewed on television were actors paid to promote the left’s gun grab agenda.
“So, if children were lost at Sandy Hook, my heart goes out to each and every one of those parents. And the people who say they’re parents that I see on the news. The only problem is, I’ve watched a lot of soap operas. And I’ve seen actors before. And I know when I’m watching a movie and when I’m watching something real,” Jones said.
Also named in Heslin’s suit is Owen Shroyer, a reporter for InfoWars, who Heslin claims accused him of lying about holding his dead son in his arms during a televised interview about Jones with Megyn Kelly in the summer of 2017. In the interview, Shroyer suggested that, because news coverage had stated that the slain children were identified by photograph, Heslin may have lied about holding his slain child. “You would remember if you held your dead kid in your hands with a bullet hole. That’s not something you would just misspeak on,” Shroyer said during the interview.
Each of the suits filed against Jones allege that Jones’ claims of conspiracy have resulted in multiple death threats made against the victims’ families. Each suit is seeking more than $1m in damages.
According to the government’s official story, 20 first-grade students and six staff members gunned down inside the Sandy Hook elementary school on Dec. 14, 2012. The gunman, Adam Lanza, reportedly shot and killed his mother before driving to the school where he carried out the massacre and then killed himself.
“In all our years of helping families who have lost loved ones under horrific circumstances, we have never seen victims subjected to this kind of malicious cruelty,” Bankston said.
Calls for comment to Alex Jones were not immediately returned.
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Despite weeks of controversy leading up to Megyn Kelly’s showdown with Alex Jones, the former Fox News host’s show, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” was a bust with network viewers who seem to have lost interest in the one time ratings queen.
According to Sunday night’s Nielsen ratings (http://www.latimes.com/topic/entertainment/megyn-kelly-PECLB0000009270-topic.html), “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” averaged just 3.53 million viewers during its Sunday 7 p.m. time slot, the lowest figure yet since the program debuted on NBC on June 4. Ratings were so dismal, as a matter of fact, that Kelly’s program was easily beat by a rerun of “60 Minutes” on CBS, which averaged 5.3 million viewers in that same hour.
NBC tried hard to promote the program, which featured what turned out to be a heavily edited interview with alternative news host Alex Jones, but in the end, network viewers just didn’t seem to care.
Kelly sparked a great deal of controversy over the interview with Jones, who has been vocal in his questioning of the government’s official story surrounding the events of 9/11 and the shooting at Sandy Hook.
In the audio, which was recorded without Kelly’s knowledge, Kelly can allegedly be heard telling Jones that her goal was to show Jones’ softer side because, as she put it, she believed that he had been misrepresented in the media.
“The reason you are interesting to me is because I followed your custody case, and I think you had a very good point about how the media was covering it and for some reason treated you and your family and what was going on as fair game when they never would have done that if you were a mainstream media figure,” Kelly can be heard telling Jones. “I saw a different side of you in that whole thing and, you know, you just became very fascinating to me.”
Jones, upon seeing a promo piece released by Kelly to promote the interview, was quick to respond with allegations that the interview had been over edited and that he had been lied to.
“I’ve never done this in 22 years, I’ve never recorded another journalist,” Jones said on his daily radio show, “Infowars”. “I’ve never done this, but I knew that it was a fraud, that it was a lie.”
Kelly’s program is slated to run through the summer, but insiders say that based on poor performance, “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” is unlikely to finish a full season.
Kelly joined NBC News in January after 13 years at Fox News for a reported $17 million per year. The former “Kelly File” host left Fox for NBC after controversy erupted surrounding what supporters of then presidential candidate Donald Trump called poor treatment of the Republican candidate during a series of debates, which Kelly had been tapped to moderate.