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Thursday, a judge in Connecticut told Alex Jones, a right-wing conspiracy theorist, to pay an extra $473 million in punitive damages for the lies he told about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
Judge Barbara Bellis of the Connecticut Superior Court gave the families over $323 million in punitive damages for attorney’s fees and costs under common law. She also gave them $150 million in damages under a state law called the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, which forbids unfair competition and deceptive acts.
“The record also shows that the defendants did the same things and attacked the plaintiffs over and over for almost a decade, including wanton, malicious, and heinous things that hurt the plaintiffs during the trial,” Bellis wrote in her decision. “This depravity and cruel, consistent behavior by the defendants shows that they are the worst kind of bad and deserve the most blame.”
Alex Jones wants a new trial after the almost $1 billion Sandy Hook verdict.
The huge amount of money is on top of the $965 million in damages that a jury gave to eight families of Sandy Hook victims and a first responder last month. Under Connecticut law, it is up to a judge to decide how much punitive damages to give.
Jones kept saying, without any evidence, that the 2012 mass shooting in which 26 people were killed was faked and that the families and people who helped were “crisis actors.”
Several lawsuits were filed because of the lies, and in September and October, a trial was held in Connecticut over the lawsuits.
During the trial, the people who filed the lawsuit talked in heartfelt terms about how the lies had led to constant harassment and added to the emotional pain of losing their loved ones.
CNN has reached out to Alex Jones’s lawyer to find out what he has to say.
No one knows when or how much of the money the plaintiffs will get.
Jones has said that he will appeal the original Connecticut decision and that he “ain’t got no money” to pay the huge amount that the jury gave the plaintiffs in the first place.
The decision in Connecticut came after a different jury in Texas said Jones and his company should pay nearly $50 million to two Sandy Hook parents who sued in that state.
Jones first lied about the 2012 shooting, but when he was sued multiple times, he admitted that the massacre had happened. But he didn’t do what the courts told him to do during the discovery phase of the cases in Connecticut and Texas. As a result, the families in both states won judgments against him by default.