Testimony to Start in Alex Jones’ Sandy Hook Damages Lawsuit

Austin, Texas-

A Texas jury will hear first testimony Tuesday in a civil lawsuit to decide how much Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should pay Sandy Hook Elementary School parents for falsely telling his audience that the shooting at a deadliest classroom in the history of the United States was a hoax.

What is at stake for Jones is a potentially significant financial hit that could further jeopardize his constellation of conspiracy-selling businesses. He has already been banned from YouTube, Facebook and Spotify for violating hate speech policies.

The trial involving the parents of two Sandy Hook families is just the beginning for Jones. No damages have yet been awarded in separate defamation cases for other families from the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

The lawsuits don’t ask jurors to award a specific dollar amount against Jones, but questioning the Texas jury pool Monday, attorneys for the families suggested they could seek $100 million or more in compensatory and punitive damages.

Opening statements and testimony are scheduled for Tuesday. Family members of the shooting victims and Jones were not in the courtroom when a 12-person jury and four alternates were selected Monday from a jury pool of more than 100.

“We’re so glad the day has come,” said Mark Bankston, an attorney for the families who sued Jones. “We look forward to telling our customers’ stories.”

It’s unclear if Jones will attend any of the scheduled two-week trials. His attorney said Jones has a “medical issue” but gave no further details.

Initial testimony Tuesday is expected to include Daniel Jewiss, who was the Connecticut State Police’s Sandy Hook lead investigator, and Infowars producer Daria Karpova.

Questioning the jury pool, Jones’s attorney, Andino Reynal, acknowledged that Jones is a “very polarizing” and “controversial” figure, but also said he would ask the jury to limit damages to $1.

During jury selection, most jurors raised their hands when asked if they had heard of Jones, and nearly two dozen agreed when Reynal asked which of them had a “firmly negative impression” of him.

“We are very happy with the jury that we have seated,” said Reynal. “It’s a very important First Amendment case. It’s not just people’s freedom of speech that’s on trial right now, it’s people’s freedom to listen. Choosing what they see on TV, making those decisions for themselves themselves, instead of having a personal injury. lawyer make those decisions for them.

Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his depiction of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax involving actors aimed at increasing gun control. In both states, judges have entered default judgments against Jones without trial because he failed to respond to court orders or produce documents.

The trial in Texas begins about two months after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which is about 145 miles (235 kilometers) southwest of Austin. It was the deadliest school shooting in the nearly 10 years since Sandy Hook.

The 2012 Connecticut shooting killed 20 first graders and six educators. The families of eight of the victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school are suing Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems.

Jones has since acknowledged that the shooting took place. During a deposition in April, Jones insisted that he was not responsible for the suffering the Sandy Hook parents say they endured because of the deceptive conspiracy, including death threats and harassment by Jones supporters.

Jones claimed in court records last year that he had a negative $20 million net worth, but attorneys for the Sandy Hook families have painted a different financial picture.

Court records show that Jones’ Infowars store, which sells nutritional supplements and survival gear, made more than $165 million between 2015 and 2018. Jones also urged listeners of his Infowars show to donate money.


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Associated Press reporter Paul J. Weber contributed to this report.

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