In one of the largest defamation lawsuits in history, Alex Jones has been ordered by a Connecticut court to pay $965,000,000.00 to eight families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims. This verdict is a result of Jones publicly broadcasting his baseless conspiracy theory alleging that the massacre was a hoax, and claiming that the families of the victims as well as the FBI agent who responded to the incident were paid actors.
The aftermath of this falsehood will likely follow the victims for the rest of their lives. Some have reported followers of Jones sending them death threats, urinating on the graves of their deceased children, or berating them in public. One father of a victim of the shooting died by suicide, which Jones responded to by questioning the circumstances of his death, alluding to foul play or inexplicably to a false flag operation.
The jury verdict represents the compensatory damages. Punitive damages in this case may increase the amount that Alex Jones owes, although punitive damages will likely be capped.
- Compensatory damages are awarded in order to try to make up for a tangible loss that the injured party actually suffered. They are meant to compensate the plaintiff.
- Punitive damages are awarded separately from compensatory damages. They are essentially meant to punish the defendant for egregious behavior.
This is not Alex Jones’ first dance with the legal system. He has been the defendant in other similar lawsuits over the years. One lawsuit in 2017 involved false claims about Chobani Yogurt Company. Jones had posted conspiratorial claims alleging that the Chobani Yogurt Company’s use of refugee labor was somehow connected to an uptick in tuberculosis cases and a child sexual assault case. Another lawsuit was filed by Brennan Gilmore, who filmed and posted footage of a car ramming into counter protesters at the Charlottesville, North Carolina “Unite the Right” rally. Jones’ claims that the Gilmore was part of a conspiracy led to Gilmore receiving death threats. This is not even the first shooting for which he has made false claims. He once claimed that a Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor, David Hogg, was a paid actor as well.
In a divorce hearing for the custody of his children, Jones’ lawyer argued that Jones is playing a character on his show. Later, on his show, Jones denied playing a character. However, in court he stated that he generally agreed with his attorney’s statement.
In summary, Jones has repeatedly made false claims on his show. These bogus claims change peoples’ lives for the worse. The court cases against Jones demonstrates the way in which the civil justice system in this country should work. Without the opportunity to bring fabricators like Jones into the courtroom to answer for their lies, his victims would have never had a chance to seek at least some semblance of justice. Even if the plaintiffs in these cases are not given the compensation they deserve, for which there may never be an adequate amount, they at least have their day in court to expose the awful lies spread by Jones and other people like him.
In response to these massive verdicts, Jones has filed for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can be used to avoid paying debt, but generally not when that debt is incurred because of an intentional injury inflicted onto another person, especially a fraudulent act such as what Jones has perpetrated.
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