Alex Jones Defamation Trial Begins Over Sandy Hook “Hoax”

Alex Jones, notable U.S. conspiracy theorist, faced the start of a jury trial on Tuesday that will decide how much he must pay the family of a child gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre that he falsely claimed was a hoax.

Alex JonesPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

Jones, founder of the Infowars radio show and webcast, had vehemently contended that gun-control activists conspired with the mainstream media to fabricate the tragedy in which a man shot and killed 20 schoolchildren and six school staffers at  Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.

Mark Bankston, an attorney for the parents of slain six-year-old Jesse Lewis, told jurors the Sandy Hook hoax lie became a “viral sensation” for Infowars and Jones, who intentionally spread it to millions of people.

“Mr. Jones was continually churning out this idea that Sandy Hook was fake,” Bankston stated. “He was patient zero for the Sandy Hook hoax.”

Jones spread the theory that the shooting was staged using crisis actors, but has since acknowledged that it did take place.

According to court documents, he has stated that he cannot be liable for the families’ suffering or the death threats they received as a result of his false narrative.

Several families of victims brought the Texas defamation suit against Jones and Infowars after saying they were harassed by Jones’ followers and suffered severe emotional distress after he claimed the shooting that took their children’s lives was staged.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who is overseeing the trial, issued a rare default judgment in 2021, finding Jones liable without a trial after he disregarded court orders and failed to turn over documents.

The plaintiffs are Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, Jesse’s parents. A lawyer for the two indicated in court on Monday they are seeking as much as $100 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

Both Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems LLC, are the defendants in the case.

The damages trial has been long awaited by both sides as delays pushed the start date back several months. During that time, three entities related to Infowars filed bankruptcy in a since-dismissed case. The families of Sandy Hook victims claimed that the bankruptcy was a malicious attempt by Jones to shield his assets from any liability stemming from the defamation suits.

Jones is set to face trial in September in a similar defamation suit in Connecticut state court, where he has also been found liable for defamation in a default judgment.

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