Analyst: The Alex Jones verdict sends a $45 million message to those spreading lies and hatred.
A jury’s decision ordering Infowars host Alex Jones to pay the family of a victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting over (dollar)45 million in punitive damages will “deter others,” according to a leading legal expert.
At the conclusion of his defamation trial in Austin, Texas, on Friday, Jones was ordered to pay Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis (dollar)45.2 million in punitive damages.
In compensatory damages, the jury on Thursday decided to award (dollar)4.1 million.
The far-right conspiracy theorist has a total debt of more than (dollar)50 million after falsely asserting that the country’s deadliest elementary school shooting was staged by “crisis actors.” He also owes an additional (dollar)1.5 million in fines.
Due to a number of upcoming defamation cases involving the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory, Jones may soon be required to pay even more.
Since then, Jones has renounced his statements and stated in court this week that the shooting was “100% real.”
The family’s attorneys presented evidence in court that suggested he was earning up to (dollar)800,000 per day, but he nonetheless claimed that any damages exceeding (dollar)2 million “would sink” Infowars.
Former New York State prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer Joey Jackson, a legal analyst for CNN, suggested that Jones’s being ordered to pay the hefty fine this week could act as a powerful warning to other powerful people who might think about broadcasting similarly harmful lies.
“When there are these outlandish conspiracy theories—that it’s fake, it’s a hoax, the parents are actors, etc.
Jackson stated on Friday during a CNN broadcast that “none of us could even begin to imagine how it impacts a family emotionally.
And [Jones] is out there spreading this hatred.
Jackson stated that he anticipated the juries in Jones’ upcoming trials to award comparable damages in order to “compel accountability” from Jones and “send a message” about the spread of unfounded conspiracies.
“Accountability will look much like it did here, with a jury returning for compensatory damages—designed to make up for people’s out-of-pocket losses—and then punitive damages, designed to punish,” said Jackson.
“In order to convey that.
This is just a quick summary.