Alex Jones Owes Sandy Hook Victims’ Families Nearly $1 Billion, Jury Rules

The damages awarded to each of the 15 plaintiffs ranged from $36 million to $120 million. I wouldn't wish being $1 billion in debt on anyone but this guy!

Alex Jones Owes Sandy Hook Victims’ Families Nearly $1 Billion, Jury Rules

On Wednesday, a Connecticut jury ruled that far-right InfoWars provocateur Alex Jones owes roughly $1 billion to Sandy Hook victims’ family members. The jury had been tasked with determining how much Jones and InfoWars must pay the 15 plaintiffs in damages for his lies that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school was a hoax. Victims’ family members testified that Jones’ conspiracy theories have subjected them to significant trauma, threats, and even physical danger from Jones’ followers in the last decade. The damages awarded to each of the 15 plaintiffs ranged from $36 million to $120 million, CNN reports.

A Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled last year that Jones was guilty of defaming Sandy Hook families. More recently, in August, an Austin jury ruled that Jones owed $4 million to the parents of one Sandy Hook victim and an additional roughly $41 million in punitive damages.

While victims’ family members were crying in court as the damages were read aloud, Jones reacted to the damages on his podcast in real time, psychotically appearing to laugh them off. “Do these people actually think they’re getting any of this money?” he said at one point, adding, “Why not make it trillions?”

“This must be what Hell’s like, they just read out the damages. Even though you don’t got the money,” Jones said. A significant chunk of the trial focused specifically on how much money Jones and InfoWars have, and how much they profited from his viral, Sandy Hook-related conspiracy theories. Per emails and texts that Sandy Hook family members’ lawyer obtained, at several points in 2018—the year that InfoWars was widely de-platformed on social media—the company was raking in some $800,000 per day. Jones’ net worth is currently estimated at $137 to $270 million.

Earlier in the trial, Jones expressed that he had changed his mind and now believes the Sandy Hook massacre that killed 26 people including 20 kids really happened (very low bar), but he refused to apologize again for his actions and the claims that he made while he supposedly believed it was a hoax. And based on his Wednesday show, it sounds like we can expect him to continue to accuse future school shootings of being hoaxes: “They want to scare us away from question Uvalde or Parkland. We’re not going away. We’re not going to stop,” Jones said, before segueing into an ad about “vitamineral fusion” from the InfoWars store.

However cavalier Jones’ response to news that he owes nearly $1 billion in damages might be, NBC News’ Ben Collins suggested that the massive number very well “might be a death knell for InfoWars.” $1 billion is, after all, a pretty big number!

As of Wednesday afternoon, according to CNN, it’s still unclear when, exactly, Sandy Hook families will receive the $1 billion. Jones’s attorney Norm Pattis criticized the verdict, vowing to appeal it. “We disagree with the basis of the default, we disagree with the court’s evidentiary rulings. In more than 200 trials in the course of my career I have never seen a trial like this,” Pattis said. He called the verdict a “dark day for freedom of speech,” and claimed that the families have been “used for political purposes.”

“My heart goes out to the families, we live in divided times,” Pattis said. “They’ve been weaponized and used for political purposes in this country, in my view, and today is a very, very, very dark day for freedom of speech.”

I wouldn’t wish being $1 billion in debt on anyone, probably, except for Jones. The InfoWars founder subjected families who had already suffered profound, unthinkable loss to a decade of terror, harassment, and threats of violence, and he gleefully profited off all of it. I’m glad to see that his victims will receive the significant compensation they deserve—but of course, the reality remains that no amount of money in the world can undo the damage of what Jones has inflicted on then and the trauma they’ve endured since December 14, 2012.

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