Sandy Hook parents of slain children win defamation case against Infowars host Alex Jones
Aya Elamroussi, CNN
Published at | Updated at
(CNN) — Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who hosts the right-wing commentary website Infowars, was found legally responsible in two lawsuits for damages caused by his claims surrounding the 2012 Sandy Hook school mass shooting, according to court documents released Thursday.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued default judgments on Monday against Jones and his outlet for not complying with court orders to provide information for the lawsuits brought against him by the parents of two children killed in the shooting.
The rulings, which were first reported by the Huffington Post, effectively mean that Jones lost the cases by default. A jury will convene to ascertain how much he will owe the plaintiffs, the report said.
An attorney for the parents, Mark Bankston, told CNN in a written statement that the rulings offers his clients “the closure they deserve.”
He added: “Mr. Jones was given ample opportunity to take these lawsuits seriously and obey the rule of law. He chose not to do so, and now he will face the consequences for that decision.”
Jones falsely claimed that the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a “giant hoax” carried out by crisis actors on behalf of people who oppose the Second Amendment.
The shooter killed 26 people at the school — 20 of whom were young children — before killing himself.
Several families of the victims sued Jones for defamation in both Texas and Connecticut courts.
The Texas judge essentially ruled that Jones and his parent company, Free Speech Systems, “intentionally disobeyed” court orders when they didn’t hand over certain documentations related to lawsuits against him.
“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 in one of her rulings. “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.”
Jones’ attorney, Brad Reeves, declined to comment when reached by CNN on Thursday, but a statement posted on Infowars from attorney Norm Pattis said the court’s decisions were “stunning.”
“It takes no account of the tens of thousands of documents produced by the defendants, the hours spent sitting for depositions and the various sworn statements filed in these cases,” the statement said. “We are distressed by what we regard as a blatant abuse of discretion by the trial court. We are determined to see that these cases are heard on the merits.”
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