On Monday, a Connecticut judge found Alex Jones, Infoward host, liable for damages in a defamation lawsuit brought by parents of children, who were victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass school shooting, which the conspiracy theorist and radio host has repeatedly claimed was an orchestrated government hoax.
The ruling by Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis, says Jones and his companies, Infowars and Free Speech Systems, failed to abide by court rulings and failed to hand over documents and records for discovery. This default ruling means a jury will determine how much in damages Jones should pay to the families.
Shortly after the judge’s decision, Jones went on his show and said “These individuals, again, are not allowing me to have a jury trial because they know the things, they said I supposedly did, didn’t happen. They know they don’t have a case for damages. And so, the judge is saying you are guilty of damages, now a jury decides how guilty you are. It’s not guilty until proven guilty.”
Messages seeking comment were sent to Jones’ lawyers. They have denied violating court rules on document disclosure and have asked that Bellis be removed from the case, alleging she has not been impartial. It wasn’t clear if they planned to appeal the default judgment.
Twenty first-graders and six educators were killed in the December 2012 shooting. The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed his mother at their Newtown home before the shooting, and killed himself at the school as police arrived, officials said.
The shooting was portrayed on Jones’ Infowars show as a hoax involving actors aimed at increasing gun control. Jones has since acknowledged the school shooting did occur.
Families of the victims said they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers because of the hoax conspiracy pushed on Infowars. They sued Jones and his companies for defamation and infliction of emotional distress. The hearing on damages before a jury is expected to be held next year.
Jones has had similar rulings in three defamation lawsuits in Texas by Sandy Hook Families in that state and also the same results in three Connecticut lawsuits.