Alex Jones was ordered to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages for repeatedly claiming the 2012 massacre was a hoax, the judge announced Friday, bringing his total liability to the family of a 6-year-old shooting victim to nearly $50 million.
The Infowars host was ordered on Thursday to pay $4.2 million in compensatory damages. The Texas jury set the amount after Jones and his media company, Free Speech Systems, were found liable for defamation of and inflicting emotional distress on families affected by the Sandy Hook massacre.
The Infowars founder had previously offered to pay $120,000 per plaintiff to settle, but the families opted for a jury decision as they sought up to $150 million in damages. Jones faces two additional damages hearings.
Jurors began deliberating on the punitive phase midday Friday, returning their verdict in less than five hours. Jones was already found liable for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis parents, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin.
Heslin and Lewis said Jones’ claims made their lives a “living hell.” Jones, who for years stoked the unfounded theory that Sandy Hook was a government “false flag” operation perpetrated by “crisis actors,” has recently admitted that he now believes the shooting was “100% real.”
Jones’ testimony got especially interesting when the Sandy Hook families’ lawyer told the conspiracy theorist that his legal team had sent a digital copy of Jones’ phone, complete with all the text messages and emails he had sent over the past two years, to the prosecution’s team, presumably in error.
Jones was found liable for damages after families from 10 children killed in the school shooting filed four lawsuits against the host and his media company Free Speech Systems, the parent company of Infowars, in Nov. 2021. The families highlight Jones’ role in the harassment and death threats they faced after he spread conspiracy theories that denied the shooting’s existance.