Lawyers for the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting told a jury here on Tuesday that the conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones should pay them $150 million for claiming that they were complicit in a government plot to fake the shooting as a pretext for gun control efforts, the New York Times reports. The $150 million figure, proposed by the parents’ lawyer, Mark Bankston, represents the first time the family of a Sandy Hook victim has put a dollar amount on the suffering Jones and his Infowars website and broadcast, based in Austin, caused by spreading lies about the Dec. 14, 2012, shootings in Newtown, Conn., which killed 20 first graders and six educators. The dollar amount, while large, was suitable, Bankston said, calling Jones’s false claims “the most despicable and vile campaign of defamation and slander in American history.”
Jones, who was in the courtroom for both sides’ opening statements Tuesday, was visibly unnerved by the proposed award. During a break he exploded in anger in the corridor outside the courtroom, calling the proceedings a “show trial” and deeming them a “Constitution-destroying, absolute, total and complete travesty.” He was seated a few feet away from Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of the child killed at Sandy Hook, Jesse Lewis, 6. The trial is the first of three in which juries will decide how much to award the families of the victims in damages. In this first trial, Heslin and Lewis are to testify about the torment they have suffered since Jones implied on his show in 2017 that Heslin’s televised recollection of cradling Jesse’s body shortly after the shooting was false. The family has since endured years of accusations and threats.