UNITED STATES: A month after a Texas jury awarded two parents $49.3 million in a comparable case, opening arguments are to start on Tuesday in a Connecticut courtroom to determine how much conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay families of 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting victims for falsely claiming the massacre was a hoax.
In the case in Connecticut, 14 relatives of Sandy Hook victims sued Infowars founder Alex Jones and Infowars parent company Free Speech Systems LLC in 2018. They allege Jones’ supporters tormented them while he and other Infowars contributors maintained for years that the incident was “staged” with crisis actors who faked the deaths of their loved ones.
Four weeks have been allotted for the trial in Connecticut state court. After Jones disobeyed court instructions, the judge in November issued a default judgment in the case.
The purpose of the Connecticut trial is to establish Jones and Free Speech Systems’ financial responsibility for spreading untrue information concerning the shooting deaths of 20 children and six school employees at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Jones had previously asserted that the U.S. government had manufactured the shooting as a justification for taking guns. Since then, he has admitted that there was a shooting.
In July, Free Speech Systems declared bankruptcy. The business would generally be protected from litigation as a result, but it consented to go to trial in August.
In a related case that went to trial for two weeks last month, a jury in Austin, Texas, the home of Infowars, awarded two Sandy Hook parents $49.3 million in damages.
Given that non-economic damages are what make up the majority of the verdict, which is meant to penalise Jones for his actions, it may be significantly reduced. Texas law has a limit on them, therefore a lawyer for Jones has stated that he will work to have the judgment reduced to $1.5 million.