Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has asked a Connecticut judge to throw out a nearly $1 billion verdict against him and order a new trial in a lawsuit brought by the Sandy Hook families, which claim they were harassed and threatened by Jones’ lies about the Newtown school in the 2012 shooting.
Jones filed the claims on Friday, saying Judge Barbara Bellis’ pretrial rulings resulted in an unfair trial and “a serious miscarriage of justice.”
“Furthermore, the quantum of compensatory damages exceeds any rational relationship to the evidence presented at trial,” Jones attorneys Norm Pattis and Kevin Smith wrote in the motion.
Christopher Mattei, an attorney for the 15 plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Jones, declined to comment on the filing Saturday, but said he and other attorneys for the Sandy Hook families would file a brief objection to Jones’ request.
Twenty first graders and six educators from Sandy Hook Elementary School died in the attack on December 14, 2012.
An FBI agent who responded to the shooting and relatives of eight children and adults killed in the massacre sued Jones for defamation and infliction of emotional distress for pushing the false narrative that the shooting was a hoax staged by criminals. “crisis actors” to impose more gun control.
Six jurors from Waterbury, Connecticut, ordered Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, on October 12 to pay $965 million in compensatory damages to plaintiffs and said punitive damages should also be awarded. Bellis has scheduled hearings for early next month to determine the amount of punitive damages.
During the trial, relatives of the victims said in often moving testimony that they had been threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies told on Jones’ show. Strangers showed up at the families’ homes to record them and confronted them in public. People made abusive comments on social media. Relatives said they had received death and rape threats.
The verdicts came after another jury in Texas in August ordered Jones and company to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of another slain Sandy Hook child. A third trial over the hoax allegations, involving two other Sandy Hook parents, is expected to be held later this year in Texas.
Jones, who in recent years has acknowledged the shooting took place, blasted the lawsuits and lawsuits from his Austin, Texas-based show Infowars, calling them unfair and a violation of his free speech rights. .
But he lost his right to make those defenses when judges in Connecticut and Texas found him liable for default damages without a trial, for what they called Jones’ repeated failures to turn over certain evidence, including including financial documents and website analysis to Sandy Hook attorneys. .
With liability already established, the lawsuits in both states focused only on how much Jones should pay in damages.
Pattis, Jones’ attorney, wrote in motions filed Friday that there was a lack of evidence directly linking Jones to the people who harassed and threatened the Sandy Hook families. Pattis said the trial felt like a “memorial service, not a trial.”
“Yes, the families in this case suffered horribly from the murder of their children,” Pattis wrote, adding that Jones did not send people to harass and threaten the families.
“There was no competent evidence offered at this trial that he ever did,” he wrote. “Instead, there was a shocking abuse of a disciplinary fault and its transformation into a series of half-truths that misled a jury and resulted in substantial injustice.”
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