Home Defamation Lawsuits Alex Jones Sandy Hook defamation damages trial to start in CT

Alex Jones Sandy Hook defamation damages trial to start in CT

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Families of Sandy Hook massacre victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school shooting look to make conspiracy theorist Alex Jones pay for his defamatory comments about the tragedy when a jury trial begins Tuesday in Waterbury.

The Infowars host already has been found liable by default in defamation cases in Texas and Connecticut for calling the killing of 20 first-graders and six adults “staged,” “synthetic,” “manufactured,” “a giant hoax,” and “completely fake with actors.”

An Austin jury in August awarded $49 million to the parents of a slain Sandy Hook boy. The jury of six in state Superior Court in Waterbury now will decide how much he must pay eight other Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent who contend that Jones’s followers harassed and threatened them for years.

Attorneys for the families and agent William Aldenberg, who responded to the school shooting in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012, will argue that Jones profited from their pain and they are entitled to substantial compensation and punitive damages. The Connecticut case has the potential for a larger award because it involves three consolidated lawsuits.

In all the Connecticut and Texas cases, Jones and his lawyers repeatedly failed to turn over records as required to the families’ attorneys. In response, judges handed down one of the harshest sanctions in the civil legal world — finding Jones liable for damages by default without trials.

The Connecticut lawsuit alleges defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the state Unfair Trade Practices Act. The families claim when Jones talked about Sandy Hook, he boosted his audience and raked in more profits from selling supplements, clothing and other items.

The families have not asked for any specific amount of damages, some of which may be limited by state laws. There are no damage limits, however, under the Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In a reversal from what he said on his show for years following the shooting, Jones now says he believes the massacre was real. But he maintains his comments about the shooting being a hoax involving crisis actors to encourage gun control efforts were protected by free speech rights.

Jones’ defense is expected to make the case that he has been drained by four years of litigation and his companies have been driven into bankruptcy twice this year as a result. An expert called by the parents in the Texas trial, however, testified that Jones was worth between $135 million and $270 million.

jesse.leavenworth@hearstmediact.com



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