US judge finds Alex Jones of Infowars accountable for defamation of Sandy Hook’s “hoax” claims

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A Connecticut judge found Infowars Host Alex Jones is responsible by default Monday in a defamation lawsuit filed by parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting over the conspiracy theorist’s claims that the massacre was a hoax.

The judge’s ruling, which cited Jones’s refusal to abide by court rulings or deliver evidence, means a jury will determine how much damages Jones should pay to the families.

Shortly after the judge’s decision, Jones went to his show and said he had been deprived of a fair trial.

“These individuals, again, don’t allow me to have a jury trial because they know the things they said allegedly didn’t happen,” he said. “They know they don’t have a lawsuit for damages. And so the judge is saying you’re guilty of damages, now a jury decides how guilty you are. He’s not guilty until proven guilty.”

Judge Barbara Bellis took the rare step of delivering a judgment in absentia in the case because she alleged that Jones and her companies, Infowars and Free Speech Systems, had failed to deliver documents, including documents that could have shown how – and if – profited from spreading disinformation about school shooting and other mass killings.

In December 2012, 20 first-graders and six educators were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. (Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)

Messages seeking comment were sent to Jones’s attorneys. They denied violating the court’s rules on disclosure of documents and demanded that Bellis be removed from the case, claiming she had not been impartial. It was not clear whether they intended to appeal the judgment in absentia.

The sentence has the same outcome as a jury that determines the case in favor of the families. Now a jury will decide the damages.

Twenty first-graders and six educators were killed in the December 2012 shooting. The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed his mother in their Newtown, Connecticut home prior to the shooting, and committed suicide at school. police arrival, officials said.

The shooting was portrayed on Jones’ Infowars show like a hoax involving actors aiming to increase gun control. Jones has since acknowledged that the school shooting took place.

Victims’ families claimed they were subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’s followers due to hoax conspiracy being carried out Infowars. They sued Jones and his companies for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. The damage hearing before a jury is expected to be held next year.

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“What is clear from Judge Bellis ‘ruling is that Alex Jones and the Jones defendants have embarked on a long and ongoing course of misconduct in this case designed to prevent plaintiffs from obtaining evidence on Mr. Jones’ business and his reasons for publishing. lies about them and their families, “said Christopher Mattei, an attorney for the relatives of eight of the victims who sued Jones in Connecticut.

Messages were left with the parents of some of the children killed in the shooting.

A Texas judge recently handed down similar sentences against Jones in three libel suits filed by Sandy Hook families in that state, finding Jones liable for damages after defaulting on him and his companies for failing to deliver documents. Also order damages hearings.

In one of the lawsuits, a Texas judge in 2019 ordered Jones to pay US $ 100,000 in legal fees and refused to dismiss the lawsuit. And a Wisconsin jury awarded US $ 450,000 to one of the parents in his lawsuit against conspiracy theorists, excluding Jones, who claimed the massacre never happened.

In the three Connecticut lawsuits, Jones was previously sanctioned for violating numerous orders to deliver documents and an outburst of anger in his web program against Mattei. A judge prevented Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case, a ruling that was upheld after being appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which declined to hear Jones’s appeal in April.

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