150 million dollars claimed from American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for denying a school shooting
Eva Deschamps / August 4, 2022
The parents of a child killed in the worst school massacre in the U.S. asked jurors Wednesday to order far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay them $150 million for denying the carnage.
We're here to make sure Alex Jones and his company pay for the bald-faced lies they told, said Kyle Farrar, attorney for Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, after a 10-day trial in a Texas court.
The couple had lost their six-year-old son when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012, killing 20 children and six adults.
Alex Jones, a well-known figure on the far right and a fan of conspiracy theories, had claimed on his website Infowars that the massacre was just a staged event driven by anti-gunners.
The parents said his lies had boosted his ratings, allowing him to make millions of dollars, while they became the target of harassment campaigns.
Several families sued him for compensation.
He finally admitted publicly that the killing was real, but refused to cooperate with the courts.
Judges in Texas and Connecticut had therefore sentenced him by default to pay damages to the plaintiffs, while leaving it to juries to set the amount.
The first of the two trials, which resulted from the complaint of Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, gave rise on Wednesday in Austin to a final showdown between the parties.
The couple was victim of a continuous campaign of defamation, year after year, and suffered emotional stress, which aggravated their pain, pleaded their lawyer, accusing Alex Jones "to have taken advantage of their suffering.
Alex Jones' lawyer questioned the connection between his client's comments and the harm suffered by the plaintiffs. His platform wasn't that big, he wasn't the New York Times but a small talk show in Austin, said Andino Reynal.
Just before this exchange, Alex Jones, called to the witness stand, acknowledged, again, that the massacre was 100% real.
But another lawyer, Mark Bankston, questioned his bona fides, showing clips from his show, recorded last week, in which he said the jurors were chosen from people who don't know what planet they're living on.
The jury will begin its deliberations on Thursday morning.