Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was found liable for damages in three lawsuits filed by parents of Sandy Hook shooting victims in connection with his false claims that the 2012 massacre was a hoax.
Texas Judge Maya Guerra Gamble entered default judgements against Jones and his InfoWars outlet after he failed to produce documents to the parents’ lawyers. A jury will determine how much in damages Jones owes the plaintiffs.
The rulings, made in connection with a defamation suit filed by Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, parents of slain 6-year-old Noah, and two suits filed by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse, 6, was also murdered, were issued Monday and released Thursday.
The parents sued Jones and InfoWars over the host’s claims that the Connecticut school shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 children, was a hoax, and that the grieving parents were crisis actors.
Multiple other families have also sued Jones, claiming they have been targeted by fans of his who harassed them about the tragedy.
In 2017, an InfoWars follower pleaded guilty to threatening to kill Pozner, who wore a disguise for a TV interview earlier this year to protect his safety.
Guerra Gamble in her rulings said she was defaulting Jones because “an escalating series of judicial admonishments, monetary penalties, and non-dispositive sanctions have all been ineffective at deterring the abuse,” after Jones failed to comply with court orders to turn over documents in the cases for years.
Jones has lost multiple legal battles related to the suits, and has previously been ordered to pay six figures in legal costs for failing to provide documents in connection with the cases.
In a 2019 deposition, Jones acknowledged the Newtown attack happened, and blamed “psychosis” for saying otherwise.
“I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’m now learning a lot of times things aren’t staged,” he said.
The radio host and InfoWars lawyer Norm Pattis said the ruling was “stunning,” and a “blatant abuse of discretion,” in a statement.
Default judgement rulings, known as “death penalty sanctions,” are extremely rare in Texas, the law firm that represents Pozner, De La Rosa, Heslin and Lewis, explained to The Huffington Post.
“We learn about death penalty sanctions in law school as more of a theory, and it’s almost unheard of to have them handed down in a case like this,” lawyer Bill Ogden told the outlet.
“However, the Sandy Hook cases are unique. It is extremely rare that a party is ordered by the Court to comply with discovery, is sanctioned for failing to obey with the Court’s multiple Order(s), and then continues to blatantly disregard the Court’s authority by continuously refusing to comply.”
With Post wires