Alex Jones Lied About Sandy Hook. Now He Has to Pay the Victims’ Parents.

The conspiracy theorist, who claimed the horrifying massacre was a “total hoax,” lost two big court cases this week.
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 18: Infowars host Alex Jones arrives at the Texas State Capital building on April 18, 2020 in Austin, Texas.(Sergio Flores/Getty Images)​
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 18: Infowars host Alex Jones arrives at the Texas State Capital building on April 18, 2020 in Austin, Texas.(Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.

A judge in Austin issued default judgments against Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones this week, eviscerating Jones for his “general bad-faith approach to litigation” and handing victories to two Sandy Hook parents who sued Jones for defamation.

Advertisement

The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was one of the worst mass shootings in modern American history. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, murdered 20 children, six teachers, and his own mother before killing himself. In the years since, however, Jones has referred to the massacre as a “total hoax” and a “false flag” operation perpetrated by “crisis actors.” 

Since then, nine families who lost relatives in the shooting have sued Jones, claiming he instigated harassment against them with his conspiracy theories. 

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble handed down the ruling Monday in two cases, including that of the parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, who sued Jones and Infowars in 2018; the decisions became public Thursday, and HuffPost was the first to report them. A jury will decide how much to award the plaintiffs, according to HuffPost.

Gamble’s ruling, she said, was a result of her frustration at Jones’ refusal to turn over documents and cooperate with discovery requests, and after “an escalating series of judicial admonishments, monetary penalties, and non-dispositive sanctions have all been ineffective at deterring the abuse,” she wrote in her rulings. 

Advertisement

The court also considered “Defendants’ general bad faith approach to litigation, Mr. Jones’ public threats, and Mr. Jones’ professed belief that these proceedings are ‘show trials’,” Gamble wrote.

Default judgments are known colloquially in Texas as “death penalty sanctions” and are somewhat rare. Houston attorney Bill Ogden told HuffPost that it’s “almost unheard-of” to see rulings in cases like the ones against Jones but that Jones’ case is “unique.” 

“It is extremely rare that a party (Alex Jones and Infowars) is ordered by the Court to comply with discovery, is sanctioned for failing to obey with the Court’s multiple Order(s), and then continues to blatantly disregard the Court’s authority by continuously refusing to comply,” Ogden said in an email. 

Earlier this month, Jones’ lawyer Brad Reeves told the court that a default judgment would be “hugely excessive.” Reeves declined to comment on the rulings when reached by HuffPost via phone Thursday. 

A lawyer for Jones said last year that the Infowars host no longer believes that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax. But for the families, that acknowledgement has been too little, too late: In 2017, a Florida woman named Lucy Richards was sentenced to five months in prison after issuing a death threat to Pozner, and last year former Infowars contributor Wolfgang Halbig was arrested in Florida after tormenting Pozner over the course of several years, including emailing Pozner’s Social Security number and other information to “hundreds of people via email” and posting a TransUnion background report on Pozner online. 

“I think Halbig's obsessed with proving himself right, and I think back when he was first investigating it, he was sane. But I think he's cracked under the pressure,” Jones told ABC News at the time. “I wish the media would just drop the Sandy Hook thing and stop putting words in my mouth and using stuff that's happened in the past as a way to bring Sandy Hook back up in my name while at the same time claiming I'm the one bringing it up.”