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Jury orders Alex Jones to pay $965 million to families of Sandy Hook victims

Jury orders Alex Jones to pay $965 million to families of Sandy Hook victims

The ruling comes after Jones falsely claimed Sandy Hook victims were actors who faked the tragedy.

Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been ordered to cough up big time after he claimed the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax.

A Connecticut jury handed down their verdict on October 12, ruling that the Infowars host must pay USD$965 million (AUD$1.5 billion, £545 million) in damages to numerous families of victims of the 2012 mass shooting, Reuters reports.

Each plaintiff received millions of dollars, with one family member receiving more than USD$80 million (AUD$127 million, £72 million).

TT News Agency / Alamy

The jury's decision is the second multimillion-dollar verdict against the conspiracy theorist in just over two months.

In August, another jury found that Jones and his company must pay USD$49.3 million (AUD$78 million, £27 million) to the victims' parents in a similar case in Texas, where the headquarters of the Infowars website is located.

The latest verdict was handed down in the Connecticut state court in Waterbury, not far from where a gunman killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. 

The Infowars host has claimed for years that the Sandy Hook slayings were a fake event and was staged by government actors as part of a plot to seize Americans' guns.

President Barack Obama talks with family members of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2013.
American Photo Archive / Alamy.

As a result of Jones' claims, families of those killed in the horrific school attack that shocked the world have been harassed by fellow conspiracy theorists for nearly 10 years.

During last week's closing statements in court, lawyers acting on behalf of the families of the Sandy Hook victims said Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems LLC, have cashed in on his conspiracy theory for years.

Lawyers said Jones' lies about the shooting boosted traffic to his website and made him millions of dollars in revenue as the victims' families suffered a decade-long campaign of harassment and death threats by Jones’ followers.

Lawyer for the plaintiffs, Chris Mattei, told jurors that 'every single one of these families (was) drowning in grief, and Alex Jones put his foot right on top of them'.

Alex Jones arrives at a Texas court in August.
Bob Daemmrich / Alamy

During the court case Jones admitted that his claims about the Sandy Hook shooting had been false but refused to apologise to the families.

A representative for Jones' company testified they had made at least USD$100 million (AUD$159 million, £56 million) in the past decade.

That figure aided the jury in coming up with a damage structure for their final decision.

A third trial in Texas involving the parents of another child slain at Sandy Hook is set to begin near the end of the year.

Featured Image Credit: TT News Agency / Alamy . ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy.

Topics: News, US News, Crime, Conspiracy Theory