Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones may have to pay a fortune in damages to the parents of two children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre after he failed to produce evidence to back up lies he spread calling the 2012 shooting a “giant hoax,” according to court documents unsealed Thursday.
A Texas judge issued a default judgment to the Infowars host for two defamation lawsuits filed by the parents in 2018 against Jones and his right-wing outlet.
Jones “intentionally disobeyed” court orders to turn over documentation related to the lawsuits, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble wrote, ruling that Jones and his company are liable for all damages.
“The Court finds that Defendants’ failure to comply … is greatly aggravated by (their) consistent pattern of discovery abuse throughout similar cases pending before this Court,” Gamble wrote. “The Court finds that Defendants’ discovery conduct in this case is the result of flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules.”
She also took Jones to task for his “bad faith approach to litigation, Mr. Jones’ public threats, and Mr. Jones’ professed belief that these proceedings are ‘show trials’.”
A jury will be convened to decide how much Jones will pay Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, the parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, and Scarlett Lewis, the mother of slain 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, their lawyers at the Texas law firm Farrar & Ball said.
Noah and Jesse were two of the 20 first-graders killed when a gunman barged into the school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 and opened fire with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle. Six school staffers were also killed.
“Mr. Jones was given ample opportunity to take these lawsuits seriously and obey the rule of law,” attorney Mark Bankston said in a written statement first obtained by CNN. “He chose not to do so, and now he will face the consequences for that decision.”
Bankston’s colleague Bill Ogden, said their clients have endured a five-year “campaign of repulsive lies” and said “it’s almost unheard of” for a judge to rule the way Gamble did.
“However, our cases are very unique,” he said a statement.
Jones ignored the judge’s repeated orders “to comply with discovery requests” and continued “to be in contempt of court by blatantly disregarding the Court’s authority,” Ogden said.
One of Jones’ lawyers, Norm Pattis, decried Gamble’s ruling in a statement posted on the Infowars site.
“The trial court’s entry of a default in these cases is stunning,” he wrote. “It takes no account of the tens of thousands of documents produced by the defendants, the hours spent sitting for depositions and various sworn statements in these cases.”
Two years ago, Jones lost another defamation suit in Texas brought by Jesse's dad, Neil Heslin, and was ordered to pay $100,000 in damages. In that case, the judge ruled that Jones’ defense team “intentionally disregarded” an order to provide witnesses to Heslin’s lawyers.
Jones outraged the Sandy Hook parents by falsely claiming that the mass slaughter was staged by crisis actors whose goal was to overturn the Second Amendment. He later changed his tune and acknowledged that the massacre occurred. His lawyers defended his speech in court as "rhetorical hyperbole" and denied it was defamation.
During the Infowars host's custody battle with his ex-wife, Kelly Jones, in 2017, his lawyer said the Jones — who told his listeners bogus stories about the Sandy Hook school shooting, made false claims that the U.S. government was behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and accused Hillary Clinton of operating a pedophile ring out of a Washington pizza joint — is really “a performance artist.”