A later hearing will determine Jones’s financial liability.
A Texas judge has found Infowars host and controversial conspiracy theorist Alex Jones liable for damages in three defamation lawsuits filed by the parents of children killed in a mass shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
According to National Public Radio, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of Austin, Texas, entered default judgments against Jones, Infowars, and two other defendants for what she termed “flagrant bad faith and callous disregard” of court orders to turn over documents to the parents’ attorneys.
The defendants, wrote Guerra Gamble, “intentionally disobeyed the court’s orders” by failing to provide documents for discovery, depositions, and other obligations.
N.P.R. reports that, now that a judgment has been entered against Jones, the court will determine the amount that he, Infowars, and the other defendants will have to pay in damages.
As LegalReader.com has reported before, Jones repeatedly claimed that the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School—which left 20 children and six teachers dead—was a hoax involving paid trauma actors.
Jones repeatedly asserted that the shooting was a government or left-wing fabrication designed to introduce gun control legislation and take Americans’ guns.
Shortly after, parents and victims filed defamation lawsuits against Jones, saying they were being harassed—and had even received death threats—from conspiracy theorists who believed their dead children had never really existed, or were simply actors.
National Public Radio notes that, while the cases filed in Texas are closed by Guerra Gamble’s judgment, other defamation lawsuits lodged in Connecticut courts remain active.
Nonetheless, Jones and his attorney, Norman Pattis, were quick to criticize Guerra Gamble, saying her ruling does not consider the great amount of time Jones and the other defendants spent defending themselves in court.
They have since pledged to appeal the ruling.
“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 two said in a statement. “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.”
However, Houston-based attorney Bill Ogden—who represents four parents in the Texas cases—said that Jones an Infowars adamantly refused to turn over documents.
Ogden further suggested that the relative rarity of such default judgments reflects on Jones’s non-willingness to engage with the plaintiffs’ legal counsel.
“My clients have and continue to endure Defendants’ 5-year campaign of repulsive lies,” Ogden said in a statement. “We believe the Court hit this nail on the head when it considered Alex Jones’ and Infowars’ ‘bad faith approach to this litigation,’ Mr. Jones’ ‘public threats,’ and Jones’ ‘professed belief that these proceedings are show trials.'”