Infowars host Alex Jones has been ordered to pay $4 million to Sandy Hook parents for spreading lies about the 2012 school shooting.
A Texas courtroom ordered the far-right conservative commentator to pay millions after repeatedly claiming the mass shooting was a “hoax” involving victims’ families, The US Sun reports.
Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of slain first-grader Jesse Lewis, asked the court for as much as $150 million from Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems LLC, for what their lawyer has called a “vile campaign of defamation”.
Jesse was among the 20 students and six teachers killed at the school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
Heslin told jurors on Tuesday that Jones’ falsehoods had made his life “hell” and led to harassment and death threats against him by people who believed he lied about his son’s death.
Over the years, Jones has been known for falsely claiming the event was a “giant hoax” that was carried out by actors who oppose the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Jones went as far as to claim the massacre was staged using crisis actors.
However, on Wednesday, Jones acknowledged the shooting, telling the Austin jury that it was “100 per cent real”.
“I unintentionally took part in things that did hurt these people’s feelings,” said Jones, who also acknowledged raising conspiracy claims about other mass tragedies, “and I’m sorry for that.”
The Infowars host looked dumbstruck during Wednesday’s hearing when told his attorney had accidentally exposed his text message records to the opposition lawyer representing the parents of a murdered child.
“Did you know 12 days ago your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cell phone with every text message you’ve sent for the past two years?” said attorney Mark Bankston said according to HuffPost.
“And when informed did not take any steps to identify it as privilege?”
Bankston is representing Heslin and Lewis.
Jones filed a motion for mistrial after he was made aware of his leaked text messages in court. However, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble denied the request.
This article originally appeared on The US Sun and was reproduced with permission