Alex Jones ordered to pay nearly half a billion dollars to Sandy Hook families in additional punitive damages


New York
CNN Business
 — 

A Connecticut judge on Thursday ordered right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay an additional $473 million in punitive damages over the lies he told about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis awarded the families over $323 million in common law punitive damages for attorney’s fees and costs and $150 million in damages under a state law called the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, which prohibits unfair competition and deceptive acts.

“The record also establishes that the defendants repeated the conduct and attacks on the plaintiffs for nearly a decade, including during the trial, wanton, malicious, and heinous conduct that caused harm to the plaintiffs,” Bellis said in her decision. “This depravity, and cruel, persistent course of conduct by the defendants establishes the highest degree of reprehensibility and blameworthiness.”

The massive sum of money is in addition to the $965 million a jury awarded eight families of Sandy Hook victims and a first responder last month in compensatory damages. Under Connecticut law, a judge determines the amount of punitive damages to award.

Jones baselessly repeated after the 2012 mass shooting, in which 26 people were killed, that the incident was staged, and that the families and first responders were “crisis actors.”

The lies spawned multiple lawsuits and a trial was held in September and October over lawsuits that were filed in Connecticut.

The plaintiffs in that lawsuit throughout the trial described in poignant terms how the lies had prompted unrelenting harassment against them and compounded the emotional agony of losing their loved ones.

CNN has reached out to Alex Jones’ attorney for comment.

It’s unclear when or how much of the money the plaintiffs will ultimately see.

Jones has said that he will appeal the original Connecticut decision and claimed that there “ain’t no money” to pay the massive figure the jury initially awarded the plaintiffs.

The decision in Connecticut came after a separate jury in Texas determined that Jones and his company should award two Sandy Hook parents who sued in that state nearly $50 million.

While Jones initially lied about the 2012 shooting, he later acknowledged that the massacre had occurred as he faced multiple lawsuits. But he failed to comply with court orders during the discovery process of the lawsuits in Connecticut and Texas, leading the families in each state to win default judgments against him.

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