After denying Alex Jones’s request to decrease a nearly $50 million defamation sentence against him over his falsehoods that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting never happened, a judge in Texas ordered the far-right conspiracy theorist to pay up.
Jones’ attorney claimed that a state rule capping certain sorts of damages was broken when the jury awarded the parents of one of the victims $49.3 million in damages back in August. Judge Maya Guerra Gamble disagreed.
Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son was one of 20 first-graders slain at the school, were found to be entitled to damages by a jury in Austin.
The parents claimed they were harassed for years by Infowars fans because the host had falsely claimed the shooting was a government fake designed to promote support for gun regulation.
Using the state rule that limits non-economic punitive damages, Jones’ attorneys asked the judge to reduce the award by more than $40 million.
On the other hand, Lewis and Heslin’s attorneys were successful in arguing that the cap does not apply since cases involving the willful maltreatment of a disabled person are excluded from the restriction.
They claimed that the parents’ mental anguish over their son’s brutal death qualified as a handicap.
After the hearing, Mark Bankston, the attorney representing Heslin and Lewis, said, “Our clients are thrilled that the jury’s decision was upheld in its entirety, and my remaining clients look forward to closing out this horrific chapter in American history by continuing to hold Mr. Jones accountable.”
Jones’s legal representative has indicated that his client will file an appeal. Jones owes more than just the nearly $50 million verdict to the families of Sandy Hook victims.
Over a dozen victims’ families were awarded nearly $1 billion in damages in October after a separate trial in Connecticut found in favor of the conspiracy theorist and his organization, Free Speech Systems LLC.
In addition to compensatory damages, the judge in the lawsuit earlier this month ordered Jones to pay punitive damages of $473 million for his “cruel” behavior.
In March, he will be tried in a defamation case brought against him by parents from Sandy Hook in Austin.
Source: New York Post