The parents of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim say they are “elated” after a Texas jury awarded $4.1 million in damages in the defamation lawsuit of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, while others have expressed outrage about the amount of money.
Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed in the massacre, had asked the jury to order the Infowars host to pay $150 million in damages. Although the amount awarded by the jury on Thursday was much lower, parental attorney Mark Bankston said Heslin and Lewis were pleased with the result. he owes may soon increase significantly.
“Today we raised $4.1 million on behalf of Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis,” Bankston said in a statement obtained by News week. “Having already received $1.5 million in fines from Mr. Jones, the plaintiffs now owe $5.6 million that Alex Jones will have to pay them. This does not include the punitive damages to be decided tomorrow and additional sanctions pending. are in court.”
“Neil and Scarlett are thrilled with the outcome and look forward to putting Mr. Jones’s money to good use,” he added. “Mr. Jones, on the other hand, will not sleep easy tonight. With the damages still to be decided and several defamation lawsuits pending, it is clear that Mr. Jones’ time on the American stage is finally coming to an end.”
Jones was previously held liable in lawsuits in Texas and Connecticut for falsely claiming that the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was the worst-ever elementary school shooting in the country and resulted in death. of 20 children and six adults – was a hoax staged by ‘crisis actors’ with the aim of promoting gun control legislation.
No decision has yet been made on damages in the Connecticut trial, while the Texas jury meets on Friday to determine the damages. Heslin and Lewis have requested up to $75 million. Litigation counsel Jill Huntley Taylor told Reuters that juries “often award a higher punitive damage rate”.
Jones said at trial that any prize over $2 million would sink Infowars, his far-right conspiracy theory website, although attorneys for the Sandy Hook families presented evidence in court that indicated the company was making up to $800,000 a day. by selling products such as books, videos, “emergency survival foods,” supplements, and unproven health remedies.
Jones attorney F. Andino Reynal had asked the jury to award only $8 in damages, or $1 for each fee. While Heslin and Lewis were happy with the final decision, a number of observers on Twitter were not. Many pointed out that Jones probably has more than enough money to pay the damages, despite his statements in court.
“$4.1 million is pocket money for Alex Jones,” cookbook author and artist Mollie Katzen tweeted.
“Very disappointed with the amount the jury awarded in Alex Jones’ situation,” tweeted talk radio host Ross Kaminsky. “I really want that man to be financially buried.”
“$4 million is a week’s wages for this bastard, it’s really nothing #AlexJones,” comedian and actress Maysoon Zayid tweeted.
“BREAKING: Alex Jones Ordered to Pay $4.1 Million to the Sandy Hook Parents,” tweeted influencer Majid Padellan. “It should have been $150 million.”
“I’m sorry, but only $4 million?” author and blogger Geraldine DeRuiter tweeted. “That’s not for Jones.”
“What a disappointment,” tweeted journalist Mark Gottlieb. “$4.1 million is nothing for this man. It was revealed yesterday that Infowars was making $800ka a day at one point! Because what he offered these families through Jones would have to be financially ruined.”
News week has contacted Reynal for comment.