A judge handling the defamation case brought by families of Sandy Hook hooting victims against Alex Jones has imposed a series of escalating fines to compel the conspiracy theorist and radio host to sit for a deposition, Courthouse News Service reports. “The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant Alex Jones willfully and in bad faith violated, without justification, several clear court orders,” said Judge Barbara Bellis after a hearing to determine additional sanctions in the case. Bellis said starting on Friday, she will impose conditional fines on Jones for every weekday he does not sit for questioning, starting with $25,000. The amount of the fine imposed each day will increase by $25,000 until he “successfully completes a whole day’s deposition,” Bellis said. Just five days’ fines would total $375,000 owed to the court.
If Jones does not complete his deposition by April 15, Bellis said she would consider preventing Jones from presenting certain evidence at trial or stopping his attorneys from cross-examining witnesses. The Sandy Hook families have said the narratives Jones has constructed about the shooting — such as falsely stating the children’s deaths were faked — has left them exposed to years of harassment while he made millions of dollars. Jones already lost the four-year-old case, which is pending in a Connecticut court, after Bellis imposed a default judgment in November. The question that will be posed to a jury concerns the amount of damages. Jones was scheduled to sit for two days of questioning last week in Austin, Tx. Jones’ attorneys sought to delay the deposition, saying he was at home under the care of a doctor. An attorney for the Sandy Hook families said that at that moment, Jones appeared to be in his studio, broadcasting.