How much will Alex Jones have to pay the Sandy Hook families in damages for lying about the massacre?
The far-right conspiracy theorist pursued a campaign of harassment against victims of the shocking attack and could be hit with a nine-figure payment.
Two families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook massacre have sued right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for alleging that the heinous shooting was fabricated. Jones has since renounced his earlier claims but a lawyer representing the two families have asked a jury to order Jones to pay $150 million in damages.
Jones had a news-related podcast and website called Info Wars in which he made far-fetched allegations about everything from aliens living among us to cancerous vaccines. However his claims that Sandy Hook was “fake” have caused unimaginable pain for the families of those killed.
“Now that is a huge verdict to be sure, but it is one that will do justice to the level of harm done in this case,” said Mark Bankston, the plaintiffs’ attorney.
“Harm that was done to the parents, grieving parents of murdered children who have had to endure for 10 years, the most despicable and vile campaign of defamation and slander in American history,” he added.
The figure of $150 million was explained as $1 for each person who was influenced by Jones to believe false information regarding the horrific shooting, which Bankston claims amount to around 75 million people.
The remaining $75 million is compensation for the mental and emotional aguish suffered by the families, who have at times been physically harassed by Jones’ followers.
Wil Alex Jones be forced to pay the $150 million?
The request for the nine-figure sum was made during the opening remarks as a starting point for their claims of compensation. As such, it would not be a huge surprise if the Sandy Hook parents were not awarded the full amount.
However the prominence of Jones and the huge audience of his show Info Wars, which he is thought to have made tens of millions of dollars from, he could have a significant liability for the families’ pain.
Jones is the only person called by the defence to testify in the case, and he has had a turbulent time in recent days. He admitted that his campaign of misinformation against Sandy Hook victims was “absolutely irresponsible” but the families have insisted that an apology is not enough.
On Wednesday the defendant was stunned to learn that the prosecution had received a full transcript of all text messages sent by Jones for the past two years, after the defence attorney mistakenly sent it to the other side.
Jones has claimed that any compensation payment more than $2 million “will sink us,” but told the jury: “I think it’s appropriate for whatever you decide what you want to do.”