AUSTIN (Fwrd Axis) — A jury in Texas Friday ordered Infowars host Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim.
The decision comes just one day after the same jury found Jones must pay $4.1 million in compensatory damages to the families for the suffering caused by his comments and lies about the 2012 shooting.
Wesley Ball, an attorney for Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse, who was killed in the attack, asked the jury to award them $149.5 million.
“I ask that with your verdict, you not only take Alex Jones’ platform that he talks about away. I ask that you make sure that he can’t rebuild the platform. That’s what matters,” he said. “That is punishment, that is deterrence.”
Forensic economist Bernard Pettingill testified Jones began paying $11,000 a day into a shell company he controls after he was found liable in a Sandy Hook case.
“He is a very successful man,” he testified. “He promulgated some hate speech and some misinformation but he made a lot of money and he monetized that.”
Pettingill estimated that Jones and his companies are worth $135 million to $270 million, something Jones has denied as he claims his net worth is in the negatives after being “de-platformed” by several social media outlets in 2018.
Alex Jones has said the trial is an attack on his First Amendment rights, and he used his Infowars podcast to call out the parents. He had said the attack in 2012 was fabricated and included crisis actors. He later acknowledged that it took place after meeting the grief-stricken families.
“Having a 6-year-old son shot in front of his classroom is unbearable and you don’t think you’re going to survive and then to have someone on top of that perpetuate a lie that it was a hoax, that it was a false flag,” Lewis said, speaking directly to Jones during her testimony. “I don’t think you understand the fear you perpetuate, not just to the victim’s family but to our family, our friends and any survivor from that school.”