Alex Jones Must Pay Full $50 Million In Damages To Sandy Hook Families, Judge Rules
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones lost his bid to cut down the $50 million defamation verdict he received over his false claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was staged.
A Texas judge ruled that, despite a state law that usually caps punitive damages, Jones must pay in full the amount determined by jurors.
In August, a jury awarded Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis $45.2 million in punitive damages plus $4.1 million in compensatory damages.
According to Texas law, plaintiffs can collect up to twice what was awarded in compensatory damages, plus $750,000.
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If the cap had been applied to Jones’s case, it would have slashed the amount owed by him by over $40 million.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble determined, however, that this is a special case.
“There’s no question to me that this is a rare instance, I hope it remains a rare instance, where a defendant intentionally inflicted emotional damage in a manner so unusual that the victims had no other recourse,” she said on Tuesday.
Gamble agreed with the argument made by the Sandy Hook families’ lawyers, who claimed that the cap does not apply due to a carveout for intentional abuse of a disabled person.
The lawyers praised the jury’s decision.
“Our clients are pleased that the jury’s verdict was upheld in totality and my remaining clients look forward to closing out this vile chapter of American history by continuing to hold Mr. Jones accountable,” families’ attorney Mark Bankston said in a statement.
Jones’s attorney, Andino Reynal, said that he will appeal.
In a separate case brought by relatives of more than a dozen Sandy Hook victims, a Connecticut jury determined that Jones and his company, Free Speech System, should pay nearly $1 billion in damages plus an additional $473 million in punitive damages.
Free Speech System, the parent company of Infowars — the outlet used by Jones to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories — declared bankruptcy in July.
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