Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been told by a US jury to pay at least $4.1 million (£3.4 million) to parents of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre after falsely claiming it was a hoax.
Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin — the parents of Jesse, 6, who died along with 19 of his classmates and staff in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting — sued Mr. Jones for $150 million in damages for defamation and willful infliction of emotional distress .
After the two-week trial in Austin, Texas, where Jones’ radio show and the Infowars webcast are based, the jury ruled Thursday that the host of the far-right radio show Ms. Lewis and Mr. Heslin must pay for the emotional distress and reputational damage suffered. is caused. by his false claims.
The amount Mr. Jones must pay could rise as the jury will also decide Friday whether to award punitive damages of as much as $75 million.
Legal experts said the jury could still award large damages to the parents if they believe Mr Jones’ behavior was not very harmful but still punishable.
“We are very pleased with the verdict and we look forward to the punitive damages phase starting tomorrow,” Kyle Farrar, a parental attorney, said in an email.
Jones’ attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.