A Connecticut jury said on Wednesday that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay $965 million in damages to numerous families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting for falsely claiming they were actors who faked the tragedy. The ruling marks the second multimillion-dollar verdict against Jones in just over two months. In August, another jury found that Jones and his company must pay $49.3 million to Sandy Hook parents in a similar case in Austin, Texas, where the headquarters of Jones’ Infowars conspiracy theory website is located.
The verdict came after three weeks of testimony in a state court in Waterbury, Connecticut; which is near the location where a gunman killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in December 2012. Jones claimed for years that the massacre was staged as part of a government plot to take away Americans’ guns.
During closing arguments last week, attorneys for the families of eight Sandy Hook victims said Jones cashed in for years on lies about the shooting, which drove traffic to his Infowars website and boosted sales of its various products. Meanwhile the families suffered a decade-long campaign of harassment and death threats by Jones’ followers.
Jones’ attorney, Norman Pattis, countered during his closing arguments that the plaintiffs had shown scant evidence of quantifiable losses. Pattis urged jurors to ignore the political undercurrents in the case. Jones has since acknowledged that the shooting occurred, also testified and briefly threw the trial into chaos as he railed against his “liberal” critics and refused to apologize to the families.
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