Too little too late for sorry Alex Jones as he's hit with $4 million bill over Sandy Hook conspiracy claims
"What I did to those families was wrong. But I didn’t do it on purpose."
Alex Jones, host of controversial far-right American news service Infowars, has been ordered to pay $4.1 million in damages over repeated conspiracy claims that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax.
It had been argued that Jones, 48, had directly profited from spreading conspiracy theories in relation to the 2012 tragedy, claiming that the incident was a government-fronted plot to harm America's right to bear arms.
Jones had also repeatedly stated that the families of the victims were "actors" who willingly participated in a knowingly fraudulent scheme.
On 14 December, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, having already shot and killed his mother earlier in the day, murdered 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 20 children and six adult members of staff. Lanza would ultimately shoot himself as emergency services closed in.
A number of defamation lawsuits against Jones have been active for some time. Last November, he suffered a major defeat when a superior court in Connecticut ruled that Jones was guilty by default due to his refusal to surrender court-ordered documents including his personal financial records.
This week, Jones apologised for his repeated remarks and stated that he now believes the Sandy Hook massacre was, in fact, "100% real". If this represented an attempt to obtain some leniency regarding the verdict, it was too little too late as Jones was formally ordered on Thursday evening to pay damages to the tune of $4.1 million.
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) August 4, 2022
The ruling followed farcical scenes in which it was revealed that Jones' lawyer accidentally sent all of his client's text messages and emails from the past two years to his opposition legal team. The families of the victims who sought legal action against Jones had been hoping to secure $150 million in damages.
While the $4.1 million outcome represents a much smaller figure in comparison, Jones' media company Free Speech Systems has already filed for bankruptcy, signalling an unclear future for the commentator. Jones noted that any damages result north of $2 million "would sink us".
Further judgements are expected against Jones, with punitive damages still to be decided. He also faces a separate trial in Austin, Texas.
“I admitted I was wrong," he said in a video posted to the still-active Infowars website on Thursday.
"I admitted it was a mistake. I admitted that I followed disinformation but not on purpose. I apologised to the families. And the jury understood that. What I did to those families was wrong. But I didn’t do it on purpose."
Jones, who said he views the $4.1 million damages fee as "a major victory for truth" in contrast to the $150 million initially sought against him, added that he will "work on trying to make restitution there" regarding the payout ruling.