A Connecticut jury has ruled that Infowars founder and career conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay $965 million in damages to families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting for falsely claiming they took part in a staged event, Reuters reports.
The decision marks the second multimillion-dollar verdict against Jones in just over two months.
The verdict came after three weeks of testimony in a state court in Waterbury, Connecticut, not far from where a gunman killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. Jones claimed for years that the massacre was staged as part of a government plot to take away Americans’ guns.
In August, another jury found that Jones and his company must pay $49.3 million to Sandy Hook parents in a similar case in Austin, Texas, where the headquarters of Jones’ Infowars conspiracy theory website is located.
Lawyers for families of eight Sandy Hook victims during closing arguments in Connecticut last week said Jones cashed in for years on lies about the shooting, which drove traffic to his Infowars website and boosted sales of its various products.
“Every single one of these families (was) drowning in grief, and Alex Jones put his foot right on top of them,” attorney Chris Mattei told jurors.
Jones’ attorney, Norman Pattis, asked jurors to ignore the political undertones of the case.
“This is not a case about politics,” Pattis said. “It’s about how much to compensate the plaintiffs.”
Read the full report over at Reuters.