Alex Jones Ordered to Pay Sandy Hook Parents $4 Million in Compensatory Damages

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.

ALEX JONES: ‘Psychosis’ caused me to doubt events at Sandy Hook

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.”

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ATTACK ON THE SECOND: Court rules Remington can be sued over Newtown shooting

HARTFORD (Newsmax) — Gun maker Remington can be sued over how it marketed the Bushmaster rifle used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, a divided Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Justices issued a 4-3 decision that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit and overturned a lower court ruling that the lawsuit was prohibited by a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from liability in most cases when their products are used in crimes.

The plaintiffs include a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in the massacre. They argue the AR-15-style rifle used by shooter Adam Lanza is too dangerous for the public and Remington glorified the weapon in marketing it to young people.

Remington has denied wrongdoing and previously insisted it can’t be sued under the federal law.

The majority of the high court agreed with most of the lower court’s ruling and dismissed most of the lawsuit’s allegations, but allowed a wrongful marketing claim to proceed.

“The regulation of advertising that threatens the public’s health, safety, and morals has long been considered a core exercise of the states’ police powers,” Justice Richard Palmer wrote for the majority.

Lanza, 20, shot his way into the locked school in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012, and killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, similar to an AR-15. He shot his mother to death in their Newtown home beforehand, and killed himself as police arrived at the school.

Connecticut’s child advocate said Lanza’s severe and deteriorating mental health problems, his preoccupation with violence and access to his mother’s legal weapons “proved a recipe for mass murder.”

Joshua Koskoff, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told the state Supreme Court during arguments in November 2017 the Bushmaster rifle and other AR-15-style rifles were designed as military killing machines and should never have been sold to the public.

“The families’ goal has always been to shed light on Remington’s calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users, all at the expense of Americans’ safety,” Koskoff said Thursday. “Today’s decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal.”

Military-style rifles have been used in many other mass shootings, including in Las Vegas in October 2017 when 58 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

The case was watched by gun rights supporters and gun control advocates across the country as one that could affect other cases accusing gun-makers of being responsible for mass shootings. Several groups, ranging from the National Rifle Association to emergency room doctors, submitted briefs to the court.

The 2005 federal law, named the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, has been cited by other courts that rejected lawsuits against gun makers and dealers in other high-profile shooting attacks, including the 2012 Colorado movie theater shooting and the Washington, D.C., sniper shootings in 2002.

James Vogts, a lawyer for Remington, has cited the 2005 federal law and previously said the Bushmaster rifle is a legal firearm used by millions of people for hunting, self-defense and target shooting.

Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, filed for bankruptcy reorganization last year amid years of slumping sales and legal and financial pressure over the Sandy Hook school massacre.

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THE PRICE OF FREE SPEECH: Alex Jones slapped with multi-million dollar lawsuits for questioning official story surrounding Sandy Hook

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.

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LOCK AND LOAD: Trump calls for arming of teachers, staff in response to Florida school shooting

WASHINGTON, D.C.– President Donald Trump on Thursday called for the arming of school officials in the wake of last week’s Florida school shooting during which 18 students were reportedly killed.

Responding to criticism he received the day before after suggesting that teachers should be trained in the use of a firearm, the president said that well-armed staff may prevent such tragedies in the future.

“I never said ‘give teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC”, the president tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/yc3m6jaf). “What I said was to look at the possibility of giving ‘concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience- only the best.”

“20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards,” Trump continued. “A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!”

The president’s comments followed a gathering at the White House Wednesday in which he was joined by students, parents, and teachers affected by the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting. Parents affected by the Sandy Hook and Columbine massacres were also invited to attend.

After asking the parents for their feedback, one father suggested the possibility of arming teachers, an idea that the president openly embraced. After discussing the suggestion at length, the president said his administration would be looking “very closely” into the option.

The president also on Thursday announced plans to ban bump stocks, gun modifiers that enable semi-automatic firearms to fire more quickly. In addition, he spoke of plans to raise the age requirement to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and called for stricter background checks.

“I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health,” he announced on Twitter. “Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue—I hope!”

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WAR ON GUNS: Michael Moore calls for ‘repeal and replace’ of ‘outdated’ Second Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Filmmaker and left-wing activist Michael Moore is calling for the “repeal and replacement” of the “ancient and outdated” Second Amendment.

In a lengthy Facebook post in response to Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting in which 59 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded (https://www.facebook.com/mmflint/posts/10154778028796857), the producer of documentary films “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine” said the constitutional amendment which protects the right to bear arms must be repealed because it was created “before bullets and revolvers were even invented”.

“This is the sane approach that meets everyone’s needs – everyone, that is, except those of the serial killer, the mass murderer, the violent ex-husband, the disgruntled employee or the disturbed and bullied teenager,” the outspoken Democrat wrote. Calling gun violence a “daily tragedy,” Moore said the time to act is now. “This can come to an end with the repeal of the 2nd Amendment and replacing it with the 28th Amendment,” he said.

A “28th Amendment,” Moore continued, would demand that “the primary right of all people to be free from gun violence … shall not be infringed.”

“As over 90% of gun violence is committed by men, in order for a man to purchase a gun, he must first get a waiver from his current wife, plus his most recent ex-wife, or any woman with whom he is currently in a relationship (if he’s gay, he must get the waiver from his male spouse/partner),” he added.

This isn’t the first time that Moore has called for a repeal of the Second Amendment. He called for similar action after a 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado after two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire killing more than a dozen of their fellow students. Moore again called for a repeal of the Second Amendment after police say 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 children and adults at a school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

“We will never eliminate all murder; that’s been with us since Cain killed Abel. But we CAN join the community of enlightened nations where gun violence is that rare occurrence — as opposed to the daily tragedy we now suffer here in the United States of America,” Moore insisted in this most recent appeal.

“We can start with the upcoming midterm election. Let every candidate know: If you take NRA money, we will remove you from office. Then do it,” Moore concluded.

Democrat leaders have also seized on the opportunity to reignite the gun control debate in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting.

“How many more dead bodies will it take to wake up this Congress?” Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga said to a group of reporters Wednesday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. “This must stop, and it must stop now. We were elected to lead.”

Republicans, however, say Democrats are simply capitalizing on the deaths of innocent victims to push their anti-gun agenda.

“I think it’s particularly inappropriate to politicize an event like this,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. “The investigation’s not even been completed.”

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KELLY BOMBS: ‘SUNDAY NIGHT’ A RATINGS NIGHTMARE DESPITE HYPE OVER ALEX JONES

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.

For his part, Jones, who went public last week with claims that Kelly had manipulated the interview to create a “hit piece” on him, released his own audio recording of the interview in its entirety in an effort to expose what he claimed was Kelly’s promoting of “fake news” (http://thehill.com/homenews/media/338097-alex-jones-releases-more-secret-taped-megyn-kelly-audio-nbc-responds).

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.

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HER MOTHER’S KEEPER? CLINTON DAUGHTER BLASTS MEGYN KELLY’S INTERVIEW WITH ‘SANDY HOOK TRUTHER’ ALEX JONES

NEW YORK, N.Y.– Chelsea Clinton took has taken to social media to criticize Megyn Kelly over her decision to interview “Sandy Hook truther” Alex Jones.

Jones, who has been a long time critic of the government’s official story on what occurred during the incident at Sandy Hook on December 2012, sat down with Kelly last week for a “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” interview that is scheduled to air next Sunday.

In a series of tweets, Clinton claimed it was a “horrible thing” for Kelly to “give a platform to a Sandy Hook truther,” and discouraged Kelly’s viewers from watching the upcoming interview.

“There is no justification for amplifying lies (or a liar), particularly about unimaginable tragedy. I hope no parent, no person watches this,” Clinton tweeted late Sunday.

The event at Sandy Hook, in which government officials claim 20 children and six adults were shot to death by 20 year old Adam Lanza, was used by the Obama administration as justification to bring forth a slew of executive orders enacting strict gun control measures.

Chelsea’s mother, Hillary Clinton, who served as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, vowed during her failed 2016 presidential campaign to fight “the gun industry” and limit, if not overturn, the Second Amendment.

Supporters of the government’s official story took to Twitter to back Clinton in her criticism of Kelly.

“Alex Jones says 20 dead kids at Sandy Hook were actors. @NBC and @megynkelly to give him a platform on FATHER’S DAY,” wrote one Twitter user.

Nelba Márquez-Greene‏ , a mother of one of the children said to have been killed at Sandy Hook, posted a picture of her daughter and wrote (https://twitter.com/Nelba_MG/status/874085384665403392), “Here you go @megynkelly – her name is Ana Grace Márquez-Greene. Say her name- stare at this & tell me it’s worth it.”

“I never imagined losing a child to gun violence and being involved in something like this,” Green wrote at Kelly in another tweet. “By making this choice, you grieve our hearts and the memory of our child. You have a powerful platform. I encourage you to ‘shine light’ on affirming the losses suffered here — NOT on a person who mocks those losses.”

Although Kelly has not commented publicly on the outcome of her interview other than to defend it, Jones’ recent comments would seem to indicate the interview did not go well.

Shortly after wrapping his interview with Kelly at his InfoWars studio in Austin, Texas, Jones attacked the former Fox News show host as “fake news” and an “unattractive psychopath”.

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