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Infowars host Alex Jones will be refunded the $75,000 he was fined after being found in contempt of court for failing twice to attend depositions in a defamation lawsuit filed by families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
After missing two dates in March, Jones did complete two days of depositions earlier this month.
The families of eight of the victims and an FBI agent are suing Jones for saying the Sandy Hook school shooting didn’t happen. They claim they’ve been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers as a result of his statements.
Jones, who now says the mass shooting that killed 20 first-graders and six school staffers was real, said he’s been suffering from an undisclosed illness and could not appear for the March testimony.
Judge Barbara Bellis found him in contempt and set out a fine schedule. The first day’s fine was the daily base of $25,000, but the next was $50,000.
Jones wanted to put off the fines until he could be heard under a public interest appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court, but Bellis declined.
She said the media personality could pay first, and ask for a refund later — after he actually showed up to testify. Jones filed a notice of payment for the first day’s fine the same day Bellis told him to start paying.
The plaintiffs’ legal team wanted Jones arrested for the contempt of court after he failed to testify. They argued that, despite his undisclosed ailment, Jones was well enough to appear on his radio show three times the same week as the March deposition dates.
“Defendant Alex Jones sat for two full days of his deposition at the offices of the Plaintiffs’ counsel — even going above and beyond the Court’s March 30, 2022, order by sitting beyond normal hours for the deposition,” his lawyers said in court documents filed April 6.
The documents were part of a request for the $75,000 refund.
Jones appeared in an Infowars video after his first day of testimony.
“I could’ve done a better job on Sandy Hook,” he said. “Some of the anomalies that we reported on were not accurate, and I admitted it years before I was sued.”
The legal team for the plaintiffs said the families are not commenting on the order. Jones’ attorney, Norm Pattis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the refund.
Jones’ legal team said in March that it has attempted to settle the suit for about a year. He faces a similar suit in Texas. In both states he has already been found liable for damages. Trials were forthcoming, with one in Waterbury, Conn., expected to begin in mid-June.
Source: This post first appeared on NBC News