HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Infowars organizer Alex Jones and his company were fined $473 million by a judge on Thursday for promoting a false conspiracy theory about the Sandy Hook school massacre. ordered to pay. Victims’ families to a staggering $1.44 billion.
Connecticut Judge Barabara Bellis has awarded punitive damages to Infowars hosts and the free speech system. Jones repeatedly said to his millions of followers. He massacred 20 first graders and 6 educators Staged by “crisis actors” to enact more gun control.
“This record supports plaintiffs’ allegation that defendants’ conduct was intentional and malicious and was certain to cause harm thanks to their infrastructure, their ability to disseminate their content, and their large audiences, including infowarriors.” clearly supports,” Judge said in a 45-page rule.
Punitive damages include $150 million for violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act of Connecticut, which prohibits deceptive business practices and unfair competition, and approximately $323 million for plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs. will be
Relatives of eight victims and FBI agents testify During a month-long trial over years of being threatened and harassed by people who deny the shooting. Strangers showed up at some of their homes and confronted them in public. People threw abusive comments at them on social media and in emails. Others have received death threats or rape threats.
Six jurors ordered Jones to pay $965 million Indemnify the 15 plaintiffs for defamation, emotional distress, and violation of the Unfair Trade Act.
Jones has accused the trial of being unfair and an attack on free speech. He says he will appeal the verdict. Because of this, he said he does not have the money to pay such a huge judgment. This contradicts testimony at a similar trial in Texas. Meanwhile, Free Speech Systems is seeking bankruptcy protection.
Bellis Forms Parent Company of Jones and Infowars liability for damages He failed to go to trial last year, a result of what she called his repeated failures to turn over numerous financial documents and other records to plaintiffs. The jury was left only to determine whether compensatory and punitive damages were justified.
Jones says he filed thousands of documents and was denied the right to present a defense to the lawsuit due to the default award.
Sandy Hook family attorney Christopher Mattei hopes the punitive damages awarded Thursday will send a message to conspiracy theorists who profit from lies.
“The court found ‘deliberate, malicious … and heinous’ conduct by Mr. Jones and his entity,” Mr. Mattei said in a statement.
A message was left for Jones’ attorney, Norm Pattis, for comment.
In Connecticut, punitive damages for defamation and emotional distress are generally limited to the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees. Attorneys for Sandy Hook plaintiff set her attorney fees at $322 million and receive her one-third of her $965 million compensatory damages under the Attorney Agreement. has become
However, there is no cap on punitive damages for unfair trade law violations. Plaintiffs did not seek a specific amount of punitive damages, but one hypothetical calculation indicates that such damages could be approximately $2.75 trillion under the Unfair Trade Act. said.
In a similar trial in Texas in August, Jones ordered to pay about $50 million To the parents of another child killed in the Sandy Hook shooting for calling the massacre a hoax. Forensic economists testified during that trial that Jones’ combined net worth with the free speech system amounted to his $270 million.
A third and final hearing of Jones’ hoax claim is expected to begin in Texas later this year.Like Connecticut, Jones was found Liability for damages without trial In both Texas lawsuits, he did not surrender many records to plaintiffs.