State Watch

Alex Jones found liable in latest Sandy Hook defamation case

A Connecticut judge has found Infowars owner and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones liable in a defamation case brought by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. 

The judge in the case ruled that because Jones failed to produce documents he had been ordered to hand over by the court, including his financial records, he was liable by default, The New York Times reported on Monday

The families of 10 victims in the 2012 mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school sued the far-right media personality for defamation in 2019 after he suggested on his program the assault, which left 26 people dead, including 20 children, was a “hoax” staged by crisis actors in order to drum up opposition to the Second Amendment. 

The Connecticut ruling follows a similar decision from a Texas judge in September, which found Jones responsible in two lawsuits for damages resulting from his claims about the shooting. 

The families have argued Jones has profited off of lies about the shooting.

When Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis sanctioned Jones in the Connecticut case, she called his on-air statements about the shooting “indefensible,” “unconscionable” and “possibly criminal behavior.” 

In a statement issued on Monday, a law firm that represents the Sandy Hook families said they were “grateful” for the ruling but remain “focused on uncovering the truth” about Jones’s activities.

“As the Court noted, Alex Jones and his companies have deliberately concealed evidence of the relationship between what they publish and how they make money,” the lawyers said. “Mr. Jones was given every opportunity to comply but, when he chose instead to withhold evidence for more than two years, the Court was left with no choice but to rule as it did today. While today’s ruling is a legal victory, the battle to shed light on how deeply Mr. Jones has harmed these families continues.”

After the Texas ruling, Jones issued a statement through his Infowars website, calling the decision a devastating blow to the First Amendment.

“Nothing less than the fundamental right to speak freely is at stake in these cases,” the statement read. “It is not overstatement to say the first amendment was crucified today.”

The cases in both states will now head to juries, which will decide how much Jones should have to pay the families of the victims in damages and legal fees, the Times noted. 

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misstated the judge’s ruling. Jones was found liable in the civil case. Updated at 5:43 p.m.

Tags Alex Jones Connecticut Conspiracy theories Defamation gun violence infowars Mass shootings Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting Sandy Hook massacre Sandy Hook school shooting

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