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Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Sued Over False Claims

Khadija Boufous Khadija Boufous
10th August 2022
Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones Sued Over False Claims
The family lawyers urged the jurors to put Infowars out of business (Getty)

On August 5, 2022, conspiracy theorist and founder of the fake news website Infowars, Alex Jones, was ordered to pay $49.3 million to the parents of a victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre after falsely claiming that school shooting was a hoax, according to the BBC. 

Alex Jones Sued Over False Claims

According to France 24, Jones previously claimed that the media and gun-control activists fabricated the Sandy Hook tragedy and alleged that crisis actors performed the shooting. However, Federico Reynal, defending Jones, admitted that Jones and Infowars reported “irresponsibly” on Sandy Hook, but said that his client was not responsible for the harassment.

Jones later conceded during the trial that the attack was “100% real” and that he was wrong when he made false statements about it. The victim’s parents asked the jury to make the U.S. conspiracy theorist pay for the pain he made them go through and explained how they lived through a decade of trauma following the murder of their son.

According to a report by Politico, Alex Jones is also facing two other defamation lawsuits from the victims’ families in Texas.

Misinformation Website Infowars on the Verge of Bankruptcy

News outlets reported on Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent company, filing for bankruptcy protection during the first week of the trial after the conspiracy theorist confirmed that any award over $2 million would sink his company. Meanwhile, attorneys for the victim’s family urged the jury to hand a financial punishment that would put Infowars down.

“You have the ability to stop this man from ever doing it again,” Wesley Ball, an attorney for the parents, told the jury, according to Politico. “Send the message to those who desire to do the same: Speech is free. Lies, you pay for,” Ball added.

Texas jurors first ordered Alex Jones to pay Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of the victim, $4.1 million in compensatory damages, which Alex Jones called a significant victory. However, the jurors tacked on an additional $45.2 million in the final stages of the two-week trial.

As an economist analyst hired to study Jones’ net worth testified that Jones and the company are worth up to $270 million, suggesting that Jones was still making money, lawyers claimed that Jones tried to hide evidence of his wealth via various shell companies.

Is a Defamation Lawsuit the Best Remedy?

For the jury, the punitive damages aim to punish defendants for egregious behavior. The high punitive award also deters others from similar conduct in the future. However, according to Jones’ lawyers, the defendant already got the message and learned his lesson as they asked for lenience and mentioned that the jury’s punishment should be less than $300,000.

Other news outlets have followed the trial and asked if the defamation trial can change the world of misinformation. Experts have agreed on law enforcement as a way to combat misinformation, and many countries began the journey of legislating against fake news and passed strict laws in response to the phenomenon. However, raising awareness became crucial in the age of misinformation. With academics, activists, and media experts suggesting various solutions, education and critical thinking can relatively solve the problem without violating the right to freedom of expression.

Misbar’s Sources



France 24



NBC News

Media Defence

New York Times

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