The judge found that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his legal team failed to adequately cooperate with Sandy Hook parents’ attorneys, and thus entered a default judgment against him.
A Connecticut judge has found that conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones is liable for defamation in a lawsuit brought by the parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
As LegalReader.com has reported before, Jones suggested that the shooting was a hoax intended to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights00and went so far as to say that the United States government employed “crisis actors” pretending to grieve for lost loved ones.
Twenty-six children and six teachers were killed in the massacre, among the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.
According to The Associated Press, the judge’s ruling was made by default, after Jones refused to abide by court rulings instructing him to turn over evidence to the plaintiffs.
The A.P. observes that Judge Barbara Bellis’ entry of a default ruling is relatively rare.
However, in her decision, Bellis observed that Jones and his companies—Infowars and Free Speech Systems—failed to submit documents that might have showed if and how he profited from spreading misinformation about the Sandy Hook killings.
A jury will now decide how much Jones will have to pay in damages.
Despite Jones’ notorious non-cooperation with the plaintiffs’ attorneys, he still took to the air to complain about how he had been deprived of a fair trial.
“These individuals, again, are not allowing me to have a jury trial because they know the things they said I supposedly did didn’t happen,” Jones said on Infowars. “They know they don’t have a case for damages. And so the judge is saying you are guilty of damages, now a jury decides how guilty you are. It’s not guilty until proven guilty.”
Jones attorney Norman Pattis said he and his client are planning to appeal Bellis’ ruling.
“The ruling is founded neither in law or fact,” Pattis told The Associated Press in an email. “We remain confident that, in the end, the Sandy Hook families cannot prove either liability or damages. We think their lawyers know this; hence, the desperate effort to obtain a default.”
However, Sandy Hook parents relished the finding, saying that, no matter whether Jones appeals, it is now abundantly clear that he and his companies have not been forthcoming in proceedings.
“What’s clear from Judge Bellis’ ruling is that Alex Jones and the Jones defendants have engaged in a long, continuous course of misconduct in this case designed to prevent the plaintiffs from getting evidence about Mr. Jones’ business and about his motives for publishing lies about them and their families,” said Christopher Mattei, an attorney representing eight plaintiffs.
The Associated Press adds that Jones has already been held liable for spreading misinformation by courts in other states. In 2019, for instance, a Texas judge ordered him to pay $100,000 in legal fees before refusing to dismiss the lawsuit; similarly, a Wisconsin judge awarded $400,000 to other conspiracy theorists who, like Jones, said that the massacre never happened.