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Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

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The nearly $50 million defamation verdict against Alex Jones for his years of lies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is not a final reckoning. Jones’ attorneys plan to appeal to lower the price tag a Texas jury last week put on his false claim that the shooting that killed 20 students and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, was a hoax. The conspiracy theorist faces bankruptcy and other defamation lawsuits. And Jones' courtroom conduct in the trial to resolve a suit filed by the parents of one of the child victims has exposed the Infowars host to new legal perils.

Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is facing a hefty price tag for his lies about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre — $49.3 million in damages and counting — for claiming the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The verdict is the first of three Sandy Hook-related cases against Jones to be decided and a punishing salvo in a fledgling war on harmful misinformation. But what does it mean for the larger misinformation ecosystem of election denial, COVID-19 skepticism and other dubious claims that Jones helped build? Courts have held that defamatory statements against a person or a business aren’t protected as free speech, but lies about things like science, history and the government are.

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A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, adding to the $4.1 million he has to pay for the suffering he put them through by claiming for years that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis say they were tormented by the Infowars host’s false claims that the worst classroom shooting in U.S. history was orchestrated by the government to tighten gun laws. The total of nearly $50 million marks the first time Jones has been held financially liable for peddling lies about the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones bulled through the first trial that could decimate his personal fortune and media empire in his usual way. He was loud, aggressive and talking about conspiracies both in and out the courtroom. It was business as usual for the gravelly voiced, barrel-chested Jones. But by courtroom standards, his erratic and, at times, disrespectful behavior is unusual. It's also potentially complicated for the legal process. Jones and his media company, Free Speech Systems, were ordered Friday to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages on top of $4.11 million in compensatory damages to the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis. He was killed with 19 other first graders and six educators in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

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A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre over Jones' repeated public claims that the attack was a hoax. The jury’s decision Thursday marks the first time the Infowars host has been held financially liable for falsely claiming that the attack that killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, was staged. It might not be the last such judgment against him, as a judge in Connecticut has already ruled against him in a similar lawsuit. The Texas jury must still decide how much to award in punitive damages.

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An attorney for two parents suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre says the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee has requested two years’ worth of records from Jones’ phone. Attorney Mark Bankston said in court Thursday that the committee investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has requested the records. He later said he plans to comply. On Wednesday, Bankston revealed during Jones' defamation trial in Texas that Jones’ attorney had mistakenly sent Bankston the last two years’ worth of texts from Jones’ cellphone. The jury is deciding how much Jones should pay to the parents of a child killed in the 2012 massacre for repeatedly claiming it was a hoax.

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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones says he now understands he was irresponsible to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax, and he now believes it was “100% real.” The jury in Austin, Texas, began deliberating Wednesday how much the conspiracy theorist and Infowars host owes the parents of one of the children who were killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut. Testimony wrapped up with Jones telling the jurors that any compensation above $2 million would sink his Texas-based company. Jones also acknowledged that he was wrong to push false claims that the massacre didn’t happen. The parents suing Jones testified Tuesday that an apology wouldn't suffice and that Jones must be held accountable. They are seeking at least $150 million.

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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones arrived at the start of his Texas defamation trial for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack a hoax with the words “Save the 1st” scrawled on tape covering his mouth. Jones says the case is an assault on the First Amendment. Lawyers for the parents suing him say his repeated false claims about the shooting fall well outside the bounds of protected speech. Jones appeared to sabotage his chance to fully argue that his statements were protected by refusing to turn over evidence to the plaintiffs. That led the judge to essentially declare the plaintiffs the winner before the trial began. Instead, the trial is about how much Jones must pay.

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The parents of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre say conspiracy theorist Alex Jones made their lives a “living hell” by pushing claims that the murders were a hoax. Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was killed at Sandy Hook, testified Tuesday on the final day of testimony in the two-week trial. They’re seeking at least $150 million from Jones. Jones was not in court when Heslin began testifying, but he was there when Lewis took the stand. Both parents said they had received death threats and harassment and experienced ongoing trauma because of Jones. Jones later testified and apologized to the parents, saying he never intended to hurt them. The 2012 attack killed 20 first-graders and six staffers at the Connecticut school.

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A psychiatrist says that the parents of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim live with a complex form of post-traumatic stress disorder and a constant fear that followers of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones will kill them. Roy Lubit, a forensic psychiatrist hired by plaintiffs Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis to review the trauma they've faced, testified Monday at Jones’ defamation trial in Austin that the “overwhelming cause” of their ongoing trauma is Jones' claims that the 2012 massacre in which six educators and 20 students, including their son Jesse, were killed was a hoax or faked. The trial is to determine how much Jones owes the parents for defaming them. They are seeking at least $150 million.

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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ media company Free Speech Systems has filed for bankruptcy, but his attorney says it shouldn't disrupt the defamation damages trial underway in Texas that seeks to force Jones to pay $150 million or more to the family of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack. The trial in Austin, where Jones lives and Free Speech Systems is based, wrapped up its first week of testimony and is expected to conclude next week. The bankruptcy filing was announced in court late in the day. Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his portrayal of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax.

A producer for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s media company tried to paint a sympathetic portrait of him as a jury decides how much in financial damages he should pay for his past claims that the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school was a hoax. The sympathetic portrayal of the bombastic Jones drew immediate rebuke Thursday from attorneys for the parents suing Jones for at least $150 million for the abuse they say they’ve suffered for years because of Jones’ false statements about the slaying of their child in the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his portrayal of the slayings as a hoax aimed at increasing gun control.

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An attorney for the parents of one of the children who were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting told jurors that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones repeatedly “lied and attacked the parents of murdered children” when he told his Infowars audience that the 2012 attack was a hoax. Attorney Mark Bankston said during his opening statement at a civil trial in Texas to determine damages against Jones that Jones created a “massive campaign of lies” and recruited “wild extremists from the fringes of the internet ... who were as cruel as Mr. Jones wanted them to be" to the victims' families. Jones later blasted the case, calling it a “show trial” and an assault on the First Amendment.

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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is set to face a defamation trial over his false comments that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax. A jury was selected Monday in Austin, Texas. Courts have already found the Infowars host liable for his portrayal of the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting that killed 20 first graders and six educators as a hoax involving actors. At stake for Jones is another potentially major financial blow that could put his constellation of conspiracy peddling businesses into deeper jeopardy. Family members of the shooting victims and Jones were not in the courtroom Monday. Jones' attorney, Andino Reynal, said his client has a “medical issue," though he didn't elaborate. Opening statements are set for Tuesday.

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