A Texas judge has found Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones liable for damages in three libel lawsuits brought by parents of two children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre for his claims that the shooting was a hoax.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin, home of Infowars, delivered default judgments against Jones, Infowars and other defendants for what she called their “blatant bad faith and blatant disregard” of the court orders of give documents to the parents’ lawyers. The decisions were released on Monday and released on Thursday.
Cases are now heading to a jury trial to determine how much damages Jones and the other defendants will have to pay the families.
The school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 killed 20 first graders and six educators. The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother in their Newtown home before going to school, and killed himself when police arrived.
The shoot was described on Jones’ Infowars show as a hoax involving actors aimed at increasing gun control. Jones has since admitted that the school shooting took place.
Families of some of the victims of the school shooting have sued Jones, Infowars and others in Texas and Connecticut courts for hoax conspiracy, claiming they were harassed and threatened with death by Jones supporters . Connecticut affairs remain pending.
Jones and his Connecticut attorney Norman Pattis criticized the Texas judge’s ruling in a statement posted to the Infowars website.
“It does not take into account the tens of thousands of documents produced by the defendants, the hours spent sitting for depositions and the various affidavits filed in these cases,” they said. “We are shocked by what we see as a flagrant abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court. We are determined that these cases will be heard on the merits. “
Jones’ lawyers have denied the defamation allegations and argued that his comments about the school shooting were protected by the right to free speech.
One of the lawsuits in Texas was filed by Leonard Pozner and Véronique De La Rosa, whose son Noah was killed in the shooting. The other two were dropped off by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was killed. Several other families of the victims are pursuing similar lawsuits in Connecticut.
Bill Ogden, a Houston attorney representing the four parents in the Texas cases, said Jones and Infowars had not turned over any documents in recent years. He added that such default judgments are rare.
“My clients have endured and continue to suffer the defendants’ 5-year campaign of loathsome lies,” Ogden said in a statement, which cites the judge’s ruling. “We believe the court hit the nail on the head when it considered Alex Jones and Infowars ” bad faith approach ‘in this litigation, Mr Jones’ ‘public threats’ and the conviction Jones that these proceedings are show trials. ‘”
Guerra Gamble said in her rulings that she was defaulting Jones and the other defendants after a “growing series” of warnings by judges, monetary fines and other actions were ineffective in getting the defendants to pay. hand over documents.
In 2019, Jones was ordered by another Texas judge to pay Heslin’s attorneys $ 100,000 in legal fees for ignoring a court order to produce witnesses.
Jones was also penalized in the Connecticut cases for violating numerous delivery orders and for an outburst of anger on his webcast against a lawyer for some of the victims’ relatives. A judge barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case – a decision which was upheld after appealing to the United States Supreme Court, which refused to hear Jones’ appeal in April.
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