Alex Jones Owes $473M More

Infowars host calls judge's decision in Sandy Hook case on punitive damages 'a joke'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 10, 2022 2:49 PM CST
New Punitive Damages Raise Alex Jones' Bill to $1.44B
Infowars founder Alex Jones appears in court in Waterbury, Conn., in September.   (Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)

Infowars host Alex Jones and his company were ordered by a judge Thursday to pay an extra $473 million for promoting false conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school massacre, bringing the total judgment against him in a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families to a staggering $1.44 billion. Connecticut Judge Barabara Bellis imposed the punitive damages on Jones and Free Speech Systems. Jones repeatedly told his millions of followers the massacre of 20 first-graders and six educators was staged by "crisis actors" to support gun control. "The record clearly supports the plaintiffs' argument that the defendants' conduct was intentional and malicious, and certain to cause harm by virtue of their infrastructure, ability to spread content, and massive audience including the infowarriors," the judge wrote, the AP reports.

Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, said he hopes the award sends a message to conspiracy theorists who profit from lies. "The Court recognized the 'intentional, malicious ... and heinous’ conduct of Mr. Jones and his business entities," Mattei said in a statement. On his show Thursday, Jones called the award a "joke" and said he has little money to pay the damages. "Well, of course I'm laughing at it," he said. "It'd be like if you sent me a bill for a billion dollars in the mail. Oh man, we got you. It's all for psychological effect." The punitive damages awarded by the judge include about $323 million for plaintiffs' attorney fees and $150 million for violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Jurors ordered Jones to pay $965 million to compensate the 15 plaintiffs for defamation, infliction of emotional distress and violations of Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act. Jones has bashed the trial as unfair and an assault on free speech rights. He said he will appeal the verdicts. He also has said he doesn't have the money to pay such huge verdicts, because he has less than $2 million to his name—which contradicted testimony at a similar trial in Texas. Free Speech Systems, meanwhile, is seeking bankruptcy protection. In Connecticut, punitive damages for defamation and infliction of emotional distress are generally limited to plaintiffs' legal fees. The Sandy Hook plaintiffs' lawyers are to get one-third of the $965 million in compensatory damages under a retainer agreement.

(More Alex Jones stories.)

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