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Alex Jones Damaged Two Sandy Hook Parents $4 Million, Jurors Find

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The award from the jury was far less than what plaintiffs Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin had asked for. It sought compensatory damages in the amount of $.

Another shorter trial is now expected in which punitive damages will be discussed. Punitive damages are awarded when the court finds the defendant’s conduct to be particularly offensive.

The parents’ attorney, Mark Bankston, told CNN that the plaintiffs were happy with the jury’s decision, noting that the sanctions imposed on Jones by the court had paid him money before trial.

“We have already secured a fine of $1.5 million from Mr. Jones and plaintiffs owe $5.6 million owed by Alex Jones,” Bankston said.

“Neil and Scarlett are thrilled with the outcome and look forward to putting Mr Jones’ money to good use,” Bankston added. No. With punitive damages still pending and multiple defamation lawsuits pending, it’s clear Jones’ time on the American stage is finally coming to an end. ”

A lawyer for Jones could not be reached for comment.

The jury’s decision is a partial conclusion to a years-long process that began in 2018 when Lewis and Heslin sued Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, the parent company of right-wing media organization Infowars.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting that killed 26 people, Jones irrationally said the incident was a hoax. Although he faced multiple lawsuits, Jones later admitted the shooting occurred, which he testified in court this week that he believed it was “100% real.”

However, Jones disobeyed a court order during discovery proceedings in the lawsuit.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ruled in October that Jones was legally responsible for causing emotional distress to Heslin and Lewis. Gamble also ruled that Jones was responsible for Heslin’s defamation.

In his testimony, Jones claimed that a jury prize of just $2 million would destroy him financially.

But the accountant currently in charge of overseeing Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems, the parent company of his conspiratorial media outlet Infowars, said in bankruptcy court Wednesday that Jones would have paid about $62 million over 14 years. withdrew, of which he testified that he withdrew about $30 million. Paid to the IRS.

The accountant also testified that Infowars received approximately $9 million in cryptocurrency donations and “goed directly to Mr. Jones.”

The decision to punish Jones for such words also comes at a tumultuous moment in American society, where lies and conspiracy theories have been rampant in recent years.

The jury’s decision was far lower than what plaintiffs’ attorneys had asked for, but it was a truism to those who instigate lies into public discourse for political power or financial gain. It sends a message that there may be consequences.

“Speech is free, but lies have a price,” lawyers for the Sandy Hook family argued to jurors in opening and closing statements.

During the trial, Heslin and Lewis provided emotional testimony, telling jurors that the lies Jones forced tainted their son Jesse’s legacy and plagued him for years.

Heslin, sometimes holding back tears, told jurors that Jones had “damaged the honor and legacy” of his son through the conspiratorial media organization Infowars. Heslin said he “can’t even explain the hell of the past nine and a half years” he has endured for Jones, detailing how he fears for the safety of himself and his family.

In a startling moment in court, Lewis spoke directly to Jones and said he wanted to speak face-to-face.

“Jesse was the real deal,” Lewis told Jones. “I’m a real mom.”

Lewis feels that monetary damages are appropriate in the case, as he does not believe Jones would otherwise stop him from acting, Lewis told the jury.

“There was no sincere apology,” she said. “But if it did, I’d liken it to a car accident where you get run over by someone and cause a lot of physical damage, look at that person lying on the ground and say ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’ I’m sorry. No, but I’m not responsible for any damage I cause.That’s how I see it.”

Lewis also pondered the implications of a trial having to take place.

“It seems unbelievable to me that we have to do this,” Lewis told Jones. What I have to beg to let… it’s unreal what’s going on here.”

The Texas trial is one of three trials slated to take place over the next few months.

Another group of Sandy Hook families sued Jones in Connecticut. Those families also won a default judgment against Jones, and the trial was set to start in September. The application may delay the trial.

Lawyers representing some Sandy Hook families have accused Jones of draining assets from the free speech system in recent years as part of an effort to defend himself against a judgment he could be ordered to pay. .

One of the lawyers, Avi Moshenberg, told CNN on Tuesday that bankruptcy filings prepared by Free Speech Systems show that $62 million in assets were withdrawn from the company in 2021 and 2022. .

“Looking at the bankruptcy filings leading up to the bankruptcy declaration, the sole owner, Alex Jones, [of Free Speech Systems]has drawn $62 million in 2021 and 2022,” Moschenberg told CNN. As such, the company has few assets. ”

— CNN’s Sonia Moghe contributed to the report.