A Texas judge ordered Alex Jones to pay the full $49 million awarded to the parents of Sandy Hook victim Jesse Lewis, News Times reports. The order challenged a state law that caps punitive damages in lawsuits at $750,000. Earlier this year, Jones’ attorneys hoped to appeal and lower the nearly $50 million verdict a Texas jury awarded to victims stemming from Jones’ false claim that the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School — which killed 20 students and six teachers — was a hoax.
“The law in Texas enforces this cap without looking at the facts behind the liability, and without looking at the jury verdict that … this person and this company has done something horrible,” said Judge Maya Guerra Gamble at Tuesday’s hearing, referencing Jones and his parent company, Free Speech Systems. “For this reason, I am going to enter the full amount that the jury awarded in this case.”
Meanwhile, Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis will hear arguments in early December over Jones’ request for a new trial in an attempt at reducing the $965 million award a jury granted to families of eight of the Sandy Hook victims in October, which Jones calls “a substantial miscarriage of justice.”
The Texas verdict on Tuesday represents the first post-trial loss for Jones. The founder of Infowars, a far-right conspiracy theory website, faces bankruptcy and additional defamation lawsuits totaling about $1.48 billion. On Tuesday, attorneys for Sandy Hook plaintiffs filed several hundred pages of court documents in order to push back against efforts by Jones to avoid millions of dollars in damages he was ordered to pay for years of perpetuating false conspiracy theories against families who had lost children in the mass shooting, Law and Crime reports.
In a filing to deny the Infowars host’s plan to reduce damages, the plaintiffs argued that the “jury’s just verdict recognizes the profound harms suffered by fifteen people over ten years.” The document also pointed out that Jones’ remittitur “cites nothing — no transcript, no exhibits, no case law — to even begin to carry their burden of showing manifest injustice” and that “the jury discharged its obligations carefully, dutifully, and according to the Court’s instructions.”
Jones and his lawyers’ courtroom conduct has also exposed Jones to a host of new legal troubles including possible sanctions, allegations of perjury and an investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, The Associated Press reported.
In early November, Judge Bellis stated that the defendants had, throughout the Connecticut trial, used an “immense media platform and audience to continue to target the plaintiffs, as well as mocking the plaintiffs’ attorneys, the court, and the very jury they selected.”