Updated: 5 days ago
A Texas jury ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of a child who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. The verdict adds to the $4.1 million he must pay for the suffering he put them through by claiming that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax, reports the Associated Press. The $49.3 million total is less than the $150 million sought in the case. Jesse Lewis, 6, was among the 20 children and six educators killed. The trial was the first time Jones has been held financially liable for peddling lies about the massacre, saying it was faked by the government to tighten gun laws.
Jones attorney Andino Reynal said he will ask courts to reduce the punitive damages verdict to as little as $1.5 million. Reynal said, "We think the verdict was too high. ... Alex Jones will be on the air today, he’ll be on the air tomorrow, he’ll be on the air next week. He’s going to keep doing his job holding the power structure accountable.” Jones’ companies and personal wealth could get carved up by other lawsuits and bankruptcy. Another defamation lawsuit against Jones by a Sandy Hook family is set to start pretrial hearings in Austin on Sept. 14. He faces another defamation lawsuit in Connecticut. Plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Bankston said that even if the award is drastically cut, it’s important to take the big verdict into the bankruptcy court for the family to claim against Jones’ estate and company. Jones testified that any award over $2 million would “sink us.”