A jury has ordered a host of Infowars to pay more than $45 million in punitive damages to the family of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim, according to a top legal analyst.
Jones was ordered to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis at the conclusion of his Austin, Texas, defamation lawsuit on Friday. The jury on Thursday awarded $4.1 million in compensatory damages. The far-right conspiracy theorist is also owed an additional $1.5 million fine, which leaves him on the hook for more than $50 million for falsely claiming that the nation’s deadliest elementary school shooting was organized by “crisis actors”. .
Jones may soon be ordered to pay even more due to several additional defamation trials related to the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory. Jones has since denied his claims and admitted the shooting was “100 percent real” in court this week. He also argued that any losses in excess of $2 million would “drown” Infowars, although the family’s lawyers presented evidence in court that suggested he was earning up to $800,000 a day.
CNN legal analyst Joy Jackson, a former New York state prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney, said Jones is being ordered to pay a massive financial penalty this week as an effective warning to other influential figures. who may consider transmitting an equally harmful lie.
“When you have these conspiracy theories that are out there—that it’s fake, it’s a hoax, the parents are actors, etc… I couldn’t even imagine, none of us can, How does it affect a family emotionally,” Jackson Told During a CNN broadcast on Friday. “and you have [Jones] There’s this hate spewing out there.”
Jackson said he hoped the jury would award similar damages in Jones’ upcoming trials, in order to “send a message” about “accountability” for Jones and spreading baseless conspiracy.
“Accountability will look a lot like what happened here,” Jackson said, with a jury coming back for compensatory damages—designed to compensate people for out-of-pocket damages—and then punitive damages, with a design to inflict punishment,” Jackson said. “To send the message that this is not something you should be doing.”
“And it will certainly slow down [Jones] down,” he said. “And not only that, [it] Those who can spew such hatred, and such negativity, and such lies about anyone, they will be stopped.”
Jones’ lawyer F. Andino Renal asked a Texas jury to award the family only $8 in compensatory damages, or $1 for each compensation fee. On Friday, Renal urged the jury to award no less than $300,000 in punitive damages to the family, arguing they had “already sent a message” to Jones and “all the talk show hosts.”
Lawyers representing Heslin and Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, said Thursday that the family was already “thrilled” with compensatory damages, which originally amounted to $150 million. They were granted despite being asked for.
“Neil and Scarlett are thrilled with the outcome and look forward to putting Mr Jones’ money to good use,” attorney Mark Bankston said in a statement obtained. newsweek, “Mr. Jones, on the other hand, will not sleep soundly tonight. With punitive damages still to be decided and several additional defamation lawsuits pending, it is clear that Mr. Jones’ time on the American stage is finally coming to an end. “
newsweek Renal and Bankston have been reached out for comment on the punitive damages.