December 3, 2022

  • A jury ordered Alex Jones to pay a total of more than $49 million for defaming Sandy Hook’s parents.
  • This included $45.2 million in punitive damages, set by Texas law at $750,000.
  • Legal experts said that even if the damages are reduced, the jury’s decision still sends a message.

A jury on Friday ordered Alex Jones to pay more than $45 million to the parents of Sandy Hook victim for the lies he told about the shooting that killed their son — but that amount will likely be reduced.

Parents, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, sued Jones and his media company for defamation over his allegations that the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, was a “hoax.” Their 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was among the 26 people killed. Jones has repeatedly peddled lies about the shooting, but he admitted in court this week that they were true.

Thursday’s jury awarded the parents $4.1 million in damages aimed at compensating the aggrieved for their losses. It was well below the $150 million their lawyers sought. The next day, the jury handed down a much harsher verdict for punitive damages, ordering Jones to pay $45.2 million. Punitive damages, as the name implies, aim to punish the perpetrator.

However, the law in Texas, where Jones and his company are based, sets a limit on how high punitive damages can be, meaning the amount he can ultimately be required to pay could be much less.

Nehme Rahmani, Former Federal Prosecutor and Chief West Coast Lawyers TrialHe said.

Under the $750,000 ceiling, Jones could be required to pay that amount to each plaintiff, totaling $1.5 million — just over 3% of what the jury determined was the appropriate punishment for his lies.

When Jones’ attorney lifted the lid in court after reading the jury’s decision, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble admit it and say “We have laws in Texas where we pretend we trust our juries and then we don’t trust our juries.”

Gamble did not take immediate steps to address the discrepancy, but Jones’ attorney said he would file an order to reduce damages, at which point the judge may reduce the sentence.

Jones’ lawyer also told reporters outside the courtroom that he believes the ruling is too high and that because of the cover he believes the punitive damages will eventually amount to $1.5 million.

Tell Mark Bankston, the parents’ attorney Bloomberg Law The court will fight back if it moves to minimize punitive damages.

“We don’t believe that capping the damage is constitutional as applied in our case and we will certainly sue this case if necessary,” he said.

Damage covers Relatively common in the United States, although it varies widely by state.

Joshua RitterD., a Los Angeles-based criminal attorney, told Insider that while the damages are likely to be reduced, the jury’s decision sends the message that “The Sandy Hook shooting was a tragedy and that media figures cannot take advantage of that tragedy to gain more money.” viewers or enhance its popularity.

“Doing so is not only indecent and disgusting, it is also illegal,” he said, adding that another defamation case against Jones will soon be brought in Connecticut, where laws are more likely to favor parents than Texas.

Ritter said he believes most defendants who get that verdict will rush to settle the Connecticut case, rather than risk another jury returning a similarly large order of damages. But he noted that Jones “doesn’t operate under the same set of rules as everyone else.”

The trial this week marked the first time Jones has been asked to pay damages related to Sandy Hook’s claims. He is awaiting additional trials that will determine how much he needs to pay the other Sandy Hook families who have sued. He also recently declared bankruptcy on behalf of his media company, a move Sandy Hook families and legal experts said appeared to be an attempt to avoid payments.

Defamation lawsuits may be just the beginning of Jones’ legal troubles, with legal experts telling Insider Jones that he faces charges of perjury after information revealed in court this week that he may have lied under oath.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *