Dhe US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has to pay a total of 965 million US dollars to relatives because of his false claims about a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. That was decided by a court in the US state of Connecticut on Wednesday, as US media reported unanimously from the courtroom in Waterbury. The 48-year-old radio host and founder of right-wing website Infowars has previously claimed that the December 2012 shooting was staged by actors. A 20-year-old man shot and killed 20 school children and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut.
The lawsuit was filed by relatives of five children and three teachers killed in the massacre — as well as an FBI agent who was among the first responders at the scene. At the trial, the victims’ parents and siblings tearfully testified about years of being threatened and harassed by people who believed the lies on Jones’ show, according to media reports. Strangers showed up at their homes to film them, and they were showered with abusive comments on social media.
The amount of 965 million US dollars results from the sum of the damages paid to the 15 plaintiffs. In August, a Texas grand jury awarded the parents of another child who was killed a total of nearly $50 million.
Jones, who is very influential in radical right-wing circles, has earned a lot of money and a large circle of supporters by spreading conspiracy theories. He is known as a supporter of former US President Donald Trump. Jones, for example, endorsed Trump’s false claim that the incumbent’s defeat by current President Joe Biden in the 2020 election was due to massive fraud.
Jones was also in Washington when radical Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He was questioned behind closed doors by the parliamentary inquiry into the storming of the Capitol. Infowars filed for bankruptcy in April.