Friday’s verdict came a day after the same jury awarded the couple killed in the massacre $4.1 million in emotional damages caused by Alex Jones, who spread lies for years on his radio show and on the InfoWars website.
In 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children ages 6 and 7, at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself. The crime shocked the United States and reignited the debate over measures to regulate the carrying of firearms.
Alex Jones, a well-known far-right figure and conspiracy theorist, claimed on his website, without evidence, that the massacre was a hoax orchestrated by anti-gun activists.
This Friday, Wesley Paul, the attorney for Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, the parents of the boy killed at Sandy Hook, urged the jury: “You have the ability to send a message across the country and around the world, and it’s about stopping Alex Jones. Stop monetizing misinformation and lies.”
Paul asked the jury to make sure “Jones can’t do it again.”
These convictions are the first in a series of lawsuits filed by several victim families seeking compensation.
Jones eventually admitted publicly that the assassination was real, but refused to cooperate with the courts.
Judges in Texas and Connecticut ruled that Jones must award the plaintiffs damages, with the amount to be determined by a jury.
More financial sanctions are expected to follow soon, and could cost Jones ground.
Repeated mass shootings in the U.S. are the target of conspiracies that call them into question, and sometimes prompt persecution against victims’ relatives who are accused of lying.