Alex Jones testifies at his defamation trial in Austin, Texas (Picture: AP)
A jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay over $45million in punitive damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim after claiming for years that the tragedy was a ‘hoax’.
The $45million sum comes one day after the same jury ordered Jones to pay $4million to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of 6-year-old victim Jesse Lewis.
Jones is scheduled to be back in court next week in Connecticut, where juries will have to decide how much he will have to pay two more families of victims from the 2012 tragedy.
Heslin and Lewis originally sought $150million for Jones’ lies, which they argued lead to years of harassment, threats and abuse from Jones’ fans.
When he testified on Tuesday, Heslin told the court that one disgruntled fan shot at his home.
‘Two years back, my home was shot up, and my vehicle was shot up in my yard. That’s disturbing,’ Heslin said. ‘He drove by my home shouting out the window “Alex Jones!” and what sounded like gunfire came from the vehicle.’
When Jones himself took the stand on Wednesday, he finally admitted that the massacre was ‘100% real’.
Jones agreed when with an attorney for Heslin and Lewis that it was ‘irresponsible’ of him to spread those promote the idea that the shooting didn’t happen.
Attorneys for Heslin and Lewis asked the jury not to buy his change of heart. ‘I believe that Alex Jones will not change, that Alex Jones will not be taught a lesson, that Alex Jones does not care,’ attorney Wesley Ball said during closing arguments.
Ball emphasized the fact that Jones continued to go on the air on his InfoWars show to spread doubt about the judge, the lawyers, the jurors, and Heslin and Lewis while the trial was going on. ‘That man will sit here and spew his lies and misinformation as long as he keeps getting a check,’ Ball said.
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