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Infowars host Alex Jones loses defamation cases over Sandy Hook shooting ‘hoax’ conspiracy

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A judge in the US state of Texas has found Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones liable for damages in three defamation lawsuits brought by the parents of two children killed in the Sandy Hook school massacre.

Jones had claimed several times on his talk show the mass shooting was a “hoax”.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble entered default judgments against Jones, Infowars and other defendants for what she called their “flagrant bad faith and callous disregard” of court orders to turn over documents to the parents’ lawyers. 

The rulings were issued on Monday and released on Thursday.

The cases now head to trial for juries to determine the amount of damages Jones and the other defendants will have to pay the families.

The Sandy Hook massacre

The shooting at the Newtown, Connecticut, school on December 14, 2012, killed 20 students in year one and six teachers. 

Activists hold placards protesting gun violence outside NRA HQ on the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.
Families of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting have campaigned against gun violence and the National Rifle Association.(

Reuters: Jonathan Ernst

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The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, fatally shot his mother at their Newtown home before going to the school, and killed himself as police arrived.

The shooting was portrayed on Jones’s Infowars show as a hoax involving actors designed to increase gun control. 

Jones has since acknowledged the school shooting did occur.

Families of some of the school shooting victims sued Jones, Infowars and others in courts in Texas and Connecticut over the hoax conspiracy, saying they had been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’s followers. 

The Connecticut cases remain pending.

Jones’s lawyers invoke free speech protections

Jones and his attorney in Connecticut, Norman Pattis, criticised the Texas judge’s ruling in a statement on the Infowars website.

“It takes no account of the tens of thousands of documents produced by the defendants, the hours spent sitting for depositions and the various sworn statements filed in these cases,” they said. 

“We are distressed by what we regard as a blatant abuse of discretion by the trial court. We are determined to see that these cases are heard on the merits.”

Jones’s lawyers have denied the defamations allegations and argued his comments about the school shooting were protected by free speech rights.

Alex Jones speaks into a loudspeaker at a pro-Trump protest against the election result in 2020.
Alex Jones speaks at a gathering of Trump supporters to protest against the results of the 2020 presidential election.(

Reuters: jim Urquhart/File photo

)

Bill Ogden, a Houston lawyer representing the four parents in the Texas cases, said Jones and Infowars had failed to turn over documents for the past few years. 

He added such default judgments were rare.

“My clients have and continue to endure Defendants’ 5-year campaign of repulsive lies,” Mr Ogden said in a statement, which quoted the judge’s ruling. 

“We believe the Court hit this nail on the head when it considered Alex Jones’ and Infowars’ ‘bad faith approach to this litigation,’ Mr Jones’ ‘public threats,’ and Jones’ ‘professed belief that these proceedings are show trials,'” he said.

Judge Guerra Gamble said in her rulings that she was defaulting Jones and the other defendants after an “escalating series” of admonishments by judges, monetary fines and other actions was ineffective in getting the defendants to turn over documents.

A history of defying court orders

In 2019, Jones was ordered by another Texas judge to pay $100,000 in legal fees to one of the parents’ lawyers for disregarding a court order to produce witnesses.

Jones also was sanctioned in the Connecticut cases for violating numerous orders to turn over documents and for an angry outburst on his web show against an attorney for some of the victims’ relatives. 

A judge barred Jones from filing a motion to the dismiss the case — a ruling that was upheld after being appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court, which declined to hear Jones’s appeal in April.

AP



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