An attorney for Jones says that the controversial conspiracy theorist intends to appeal the order.
A Connecticut jury has awarded nearly $1 billion in compensatory damages to 15 plaintiffs who said they were defamed by controversial conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who publicly claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was staged by government-sponsored “crisis actors.”
According to ABC News, the plaintiffs—parents and family members of the victims—sobbed as the jury read its verdict, which found Jones liable for slander and infliction of emotional distress.
In total, the jury awarded the families an estimated $965 million, as well as attorneys fees and legal costs.
Jones, who was speaking on InfoWars when the verdict was announced, appeared audibly disappointed by the jury’s finding.
“This must be what hell is like,” Jones told his InfoWars audience, “they just read out the damages, even though you don’t got the money.”
An attorney for Jones, Norm Pattis, told the media that they plan to appeal the award.
“Candidly, from start to finish, the fix was in this case,” Pattis said. “We disagree with the basis of the default, we disagree with the court’s evidentiary rulings.”
“In more than 200 trials in the course of my career,” Pattis added, “I’ve never seen a trial like this.”
Pattis, writes ABC News, told jurors in his closing arguments that their job was not to bankrupt Jones—no matter how reviled the man may be.
When the plaintiffs’ attorneys suggested that Jones be liable for a half-billion in damages, Pattis pointed out that most people would never be able to afford paying the award.
“It would take a person earning $100,000 a year hundreds of years to make $550 million,” Pattis told the jury.
The plaintiffs, notes ABC News, include relatives of the victims as well as an FBI agent who responded to the Sandy Hook shooting.
All of them, says ABC, testified that they had been harassed by Jones’ followers—some of whom issued death threats, or accused them of lying about their children’s deaths.
Plaintiff Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, was killed in the shooting, thanked his attorneys for helping him “fight and stand up to what had been happening to me for so long.”
“I’m just proud that what we were able to accomplish was just to simply tell the truth,” Parker said. “And it shouldn’t be this hard. And it shouldn’t be this scary.”
Connecticut’s current governor, Ned Lamont, also released a statement supporting the jury’s decision and condemning Jones’s falsehoods.
“Nobody should ever have to endure the kind of harassment and persecution that Alex Jones caused, especially the families of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Lamont said in a statement. “A jury in Connecticut today sent a strong message that what he did to these families and a first responder was disgraceful.”