Conspiracy theorist radio show host Alex Jones Wednesday was ordered to pay families of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims and a first responder approximately $965 million in compensatory damages. A Connecticut court issued the verdict after four weeks of trial.
Family members of five children and three educators killed in the shooting, as well as one first responder, filed suit against Jones and his radio show’s parent company Free Speech Systems. The family members and first responder accused Jones of defaming and wrongly profiting millions of dollars off of claims that the 2012 shooting, which killed 26 people, was a hoax. Followers of Jones’ Infowars show were also accused of threatening and harrassing the family members and first responder, both in person and online.
Among those who received an award from Wednesday’s decision were Sandy Hook parents and one FBI agent who reported to the shooting as a first responder. Mark Barden, who had Jones’ supporters urinate and threaten to deface his seven-year-old son Daniel’s grave, received $86 million. Robbie Parker, who lost his six-year-old daughter Emilie, received $120 million. Now-retired FBI agent William Aldenberg received $90 million.
Jones was not present in the courtroom Wednesday. Instead, he reacted to a livestream of the verdict reading on Infowars. Jones referred to the proceeding as “all made up.” During the trial, Jones acknowledged that the shooting was real, not “made up” or “staged” as he previously stated on Infowars. Attorneys for the plaintiffs presented evidence showing web traffic and audience sales skyrocketed during Jones’ Infowar segments on the shooting.
Jones is expected to appeal the verdict over claims that he is unable to pay the award. In August, a Texas jury ordered Jones to pay $4.1 million compensatory damages and $45.2 million to other families of Sandy Hook victims on similar charges. Jones still faces a third defamation case in Texas brought by the parents of another boy killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The trial is supposed to begin late this year, but a date has not yet been announced.