A Texas jury on Friday ordered Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim, a day after deciding that the Infowars host had to pay them Will happen $4.1 million In compensatory damages for the suffering caused by his lies about the 2012 massacre.
Lawyers for Wesley Ball, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse, was killed in an attack in Newtown, Connecticut, asked a jury to award him $149.5 million to bring them up to $150 million.
Ball argued that only such a large amount would be enough to “take the bullhorn away” from Jones.
“I ask that with your decision, you don’t just take the stage of Alex Jones that he talks about. I ask that you make sure he can’t rebuild the stage. That’s what matters. ,” They said. “That’s punishment, that’s detention.”
Jones’ attorney Andino Renal told jurors that he had already sent Jones and other talk show hosts a message with the $4.1 million ruling that “their standard of care should be different.” He also argued that a larger award would only serve to discourage those who questioned “government officials who dropped the ball” from doing so.
Renal objected to the decision, arguing that the verdict did not comply with Texas law, which limits the actual award at $750,000 per plaintiff. The judge accepted the objection, saying that the law implies that in the state “we do not have confidence in our jury.”
Punitive damages are intended to punish someone, especially for harmful behavior.
The jury’s decision followed expert testimony from forensic economist Bernard Pettingill, whose testimony was intended to tell the jury how much money Jones had and, by extension, how long it would take to punish him for his behavior. Pettingill estimated that Jones and his companies were worth $135 million to $270 million — an amount his defense team disputed — and said that Jones and his companies were “deplatformed” by multiple social media outlets in 2018. After earned more money. Jones has maintained throughout. Tested whether their companies have suffered since they were removed from the sites.
Pettingill also testified that Jones began paying $11,000 a day to a shell company he controls when he is found liable in one. omission Verdict in the Sandy Hook case
“He is a very successful man,” he testified. “They propagated some hate speech and some misinformation but they made a lot of money and they monetized it.”
In this case the jury was asked only to decide whether Jones, who had already met liable by a judge Because he did not hand over vital evidence before the trial began, he must also pay for the emotional distress to Jesse’s parents and reputational damages caused by his false claims.
test includes testimony From both parents and Jones, who have characterized the lawsuit as an attack on his First Amendment rights. After the massacre, he insisted that it was fabricated and involved actors in distress. He later admitted that it had happened.
Heslin and Lewis testified Jones’ lies on Tuesday left him in fear for his life and added to his grief.
“It’s unbearable to shoot a 6 year old son in front of his class and you don’t think you’re going to survive and then have someone lie on top of him that it was a hoax, that it was a false flag,” Lewis said. Speaking directly to Jones during his testimony, he said. “I don’t think you understand the fear you maintain, not only for the victim’s family but for our family, our friends, and any survivors at that school.”
The crux of the lawsuit is a 2017 episode of NBC’s “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly”, on which Heslin appeared and challenged Jones’ refusal to shoot. In this episode Heslin says: “I grabbed my son with a bullet hole through his head.”
Jones and another Infowars host, Owen Schauer, later implied that Heslin lied.
Heslin and Lewis are among several Sandy Hook families that have filed suit against Jones, arguing that their statements that the mass shooting was a hoax have been abused by their followers over the years.