Far-right radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been ordered by a Texas jury to pay nearly $50 million to the family of a young boy killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
In a unanimous decision Friday, Aug. 5, the jury said Jones must pay $45.2 million in punitive damages in a lawsuit filed by the parents of 6-year-old victim Jesse Lewis.
That’s in addition to the $4.1 million in compensatory damages the jury awarded the family the day prior.
Jones had already been found liable in a default judgment for defamation and “intentional infliction of emotional distress” against Lewis’ parents, Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin.
The InfoWars host has notoriously made repeated claims that the Sandy Hook massacre in December 2012, which killed 20 young students and six staff members, was a hoax carried out by so-called crisis actors.
Jones has argued that the lawsuit is an attack on his First Amendment right to say whatever he wants about the shooting.
An attorney for Lewis and Heslin had asked the jury to award them $149.5 million, arguing that such a large sum was necessary to “take the bullhorn away” from Jones, NBC News reports.
Before deciding on an amount to award the family, jurors heard expert testimony from a forensic economist who estimated that Jones and his companies are worth between $135 million and $270 million.
His defense team disputed that claim.
Jones still faces two more damage award trials by parents of Sandy Hook victims.
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