Conspiracy theorist and Infowars internet talk show host Alex Jones was ordered by a Texas jury Friday to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. This is in addition to another $4.1 million he must pay for the suffering caused to the parents after years of Jones claiming that the massacre was a hoax.
The trial marks the first time Jones has been held financially responsible for his lies about the school shooting, where he claimed multiple times on his show that Sandy Hook was a "false flag" and that “no one died." Jones has also claimed that the parents of the Sandy Hook children that were killed were "crisis actors."
In an attempt to distance himself from his conspiracy theories, Jones fully admitted and acknowledged that the Sandy Hook shooting was "100% real."
Separated parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis originally sought $145.9 million in punitive damages, along with $150 million in compensatory damages when they first filed their defamation suit in 2018. Compensatory damages are awarded to cover a plaintiff's suffering and losses. Punitive damages are awarded as punishment for a defendant's actions.
The final total in damages came out to $49.3 million. Jones’ lead attorney, Andino Reynal, told reporters there will be an appeal, and that he will seek a significant reduction in the award. According to the Associated Press, Reynal believes the final amount will be as low as $1.5 million.
Despite this, after the verdict, Lewis told reporters that she was glad that glad Jones was held accountable and that she was able to stand up to him.
"I hope that I did that incredible courage justice when I was able to confront Alex Jones, who is also a bully," Lewis said, according to the Associated Press. "I hope that inspires other people to do the same."
This won't be the last time Jones will see a court for the foreseeable future. Jones is facing multiple defamation suits with one in Connecticut and another starting in the same Austin court starting Sept. 14. Jones will also be facing a subpoena by the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol after his lawyer accidentally leaked years of Jones' text messages.