A Connecticut judge has ruled that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his company, InfoWars, owes the family members of Sandy Hook victims another few hundred million in damages for claiming that the school shooting that killed their children was staged. This is in addition to the nearly $1 billion a jury awarded to the families in October for compensatory damages. During that trial, the jury ruled that the far-right conspiracy theorist also owes the plaintiffs punitive damages to cover their legal fees—which was determined to be $473 million by Judge Barbara N. Bellis on Thursday.
“Our hope is that this serves to reinforce the message of this case: Those who profit from lies targeting the innocent will face justice,” Christopher M. Mattei, a lawyer for the Sandy Hook families in the Connecticut case, said in a statement following the ruling.
Bellis also ruled that Jones’ assets were to be frozen, prohibiting him from transferring or moving any of his money “until further order of the court.” A hearing on Jones’ assets is set for next month.
Over the course of three trials, the eight families and one FBI agent testified that Jones’ lies about the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school being a hoax had subjected them to significant trauma, threats, and even physical danger from his followers over the last decade. In October, the damages awarded to each of the individual 15 plaintiffs ranged from $36 million to $120 million, CNN reported. Before that, in August, a Texas jury ruled that Jones owed $4 million to the parents of one Sandy Hook victim and an additional roughly $41 million in punitive damages.
Jones has been trying to laugh off the damages. “Do these people actually think they’re getting any of this money? … Why not make it trillions?” he said on his live show following the $1 billion ruling in October. He claims he doesn’t have the money, but, during the trial, it was determined that his lies—particularly claiming Sandy Hook was a hoax—have actually made him quite wealthy.
Apple MacBook Air Laptop
The M1 chip delivers 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation all while using way less power. Get up to 18 hours of battery life.
The majority of the trial focused specifically on just how much money Jones and InfoWars have and how much they profited from his Sandy Hook-related conspiracy theories. Emails and texts obtained by the family members’ lawyer showed that at several points in 2018—the year InfoWars was widely de-platformed on social media—the company was still raking in some $800,000 per day. Jones’ net worth is currently estimated at $137 to $270 million; that’s definitely not $1.5 billion, but he isn’t exactly broke. And he owes much of his wealth to lying about and actively endangering and retraumatizing Sandy Hook families.
Jones is claiming the damages he’s been ordered to pay are, somehow, an attack on free speech, but that he’s not going to stop peddling his lies about future school shootings. “They want to scare us away from questioning Uvalde or Parkland. We’re not going away. We’re not going to stop,” he recently said on his show.
There’s not enough money in the world that can compensate for what Jones has inflicted on Sandy Hook families, who already lost everything on December 14, 2012.