Alex Jones just found out the hard way that you can't just spit out dangerous nonsense and get away with it. According to files released last Thursday, a Texas judge ruled that the far-right conspiracy theorist has to pay damages to two families of children who were murdered in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
The plaintiffs include Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, the parents of 6-year-old Noah, the youngest to be killed in the massacre. The other is Scarlett Lewis, who lost her 6-year-old son, Jesse, in the shooting.
For years after the tragedy that left 20 children and six school employees dead, Jones told his radio and online audience of millions that the event was a "giant hoax" carried out by "crisis actors." Jones sold the big, dangerous lie that the government staged the incident as a "false flag" event that would eventually lead to the Second Amendment being abolished.
In the years after the shooting, Jones would tell his audience that "the whole thing was fake" and "pretty much didn't happen."
In 2012, Jones' Infowars website ran a news headline that read: "FBI says no one killed at Sandy Hook."
In 2013, Jones told his audience: "In the last month and a half, I have not come out and said this was clearly a staged event. Unfortunately, evidence is beginning to come out that points more and more in that direction."
Jones finally backed down from his wild and dangerous claims in 2019 when during a deposition he said he now believes that "Children died, and it's a tragedy."
However, Jones' recantation was too little, too late. In the years after the horrifying event, the grieving Sandy Hook parents were continuously harassed by Jones' listeners. In 2017, Pozner received death threats from Florida woman Lucy Richards, who was sentenced to five months in prison.
"You gonna die," Richards told Pozner in a voicemail message. "Death is coming to you real soon."
It's impossible to imagine losing a child in such a horrific way and then being harassed by random strangers who believe you are part of a broad conspiracy.
Alex Jones must pay damages to Sandy Hook families after calling shooting a “giant hoax,” judge rules https://t.co/Hh2Ii2h3P4— The Washington Post (@The Washington Post) 1633099171.0
Jones and his outlet Infowars were found guilty in a default judgment after failing to produce documents for the trial's discovery process.
"The court finds that defendants' failure to comply … is greatly aggravated by [their] consistent pattern of discovery abuse throughout similar cases pending before this court," wrote the Texas judge, Maya Guerra Gamble, in a judgment reported by CNN.
"The court finds that defendants' discovery conduct in this case is the result of flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rule," she wrote.
The court will convene a jury to consider the damages Jones will have to pay the plaintiffs.
Jones' loss in court may not be enough to undo the damage caused by his heinous attacks on the Sandy Hook families, but it does send a strong message to those who wish to exploit future tragedies. In America, you're free to hold any belief you like and speak your mind freely, but be prepared to face the consequences if and when you do.
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