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On Friday, a Texas jury ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay an additional $45 million in punitive damages for defaming the parents of a 6-year-old Sandy Hook shooting victim.
The same jury on Thursday ordered Jones, 48, to pay the parents of Jesse Lewis $4.1 million in compensatory damages. Jones’ lawyers said they plan to appeal this ruling on the grounds that Texas law limits how much someone must pay in damages, according to the Texas Tribune.
Lewis’ parents were seeking $150 million in damages. During testimony, economic expert Bernard Pettingill told the court that Jones was paid $18 million via his company, Free Speech Systems, from 2015 to 2018. Pettingill said he was paid out $61 million in 2021 — the same year he lost two defamation cases related to Sandy Hook.
It was also revealed that Jones’ ventures made more money after he was de-platformed from Facebook and Twitter in 2018.
According to the Texas Tribune, Pettingill estimated Jones and Free Speech Systems’ total net worth ranges from $135 million to $270 million.
The latest lawsuit pertains to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, who won default judgments against Jones in November 2021. Around the same time, Travis County Judge Maya Guerra Gamble Gamble also issued default judgments in favor of parents Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose 6-year-old son, Noah Pozner, was also killed in the 2012 school shooting. The defamation lawsuits against Jones were filed in 2018.
After killing his mother at home, Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and fatally shot 20 children and six adults. Lanza then turned the gun on himself.
Over the years, other parents of Sandy Hook shooting victims have faced unfounded accusations— fanned by Jones and his cohorts — that they faked their children’s deaths. Specifically, Jones said on his platform that the 2012 mass shooting was a “false flag” operation committed by “crisis actors.”
At some points, the victims’ families have had to prove their slain children’s existence.
The Tribune reported that Jones faces two more trials, one in Texas and one in Connecticut, regarding Sandy Hook.
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[Featured image: Alex Jones/AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File]