Alex Jones will not be able to avoid a ‘historically high’ defamation award, legal experts say.

A Connecticut jury, worth nearly $1 billion, ordered the families of Sandy Hook victims to pay Alex Jones for a mass shooting scam. .“He may have to make a living,” said Richard Signorelli, a New York State attorney and former federal prosecutor. “He will always watch. He will always be chased, and I believe he will ultimately be unable to avoid the consequences of his wrongdoing.” Eight victims of the 2012 school shooting and the family of an FBI agent who arrived at the scene sued Jones for defamation, intentional harm of emotional distress and violation of state unfair trade practices laws for telling followers that the massacre was “fake” . And families have been “crisis actors” on multiple platforms over the years. In a stand-alone trial to determine damages, a six-member jury comprised 15 judges, ranging from $28.8 million to $120 million, because Jones was already found liable by a judge after refusing to provide material evidence at the time of discovery. We paid out a total of $965 million in individual rewards. compensatory damages. Civil litigants across the country said they were surprised by the sheer amount. “I think the biggest defamation judgment in American history is the award of compensation,” said Jesse Gessin, a civil litigator and adjunct professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. “I was absolutely shocked. This is an incredible verdict.” “And that’s not all. There is still the issue of punitive damages, which amount to millions of dollars,” he said. Signorelli said jury awards can often add billions of dollars in large misconduct or large class action lawsuits, but for individuals this is a “historically high damage award”. After a fire broke out at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on December 14, 2012, Jones launched a campaign to misrepresent the shooting. According to testimony presented at trial, his false claims garnered huge viewership and earned millions of dollars from the sale of the product. Now Jones and his company are worth between $135 million and $270 million, forensic economist Bernard Pettingill tested another defamation trial against Jones in August in Texas. That figure was challenged by his defense team. Jones’ attorney did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News. According to Ryan O’Neill, a libel attorney and professor at Quinnipiac University School of Law, Jones’ final payment could be less. He continued, “With the end of the trial, there is an opportunity for the parties to claim that the amount of damages is excessive, and there is a part where the court can remit a certain amount of the verdict to compensate.” It will be decided with a reasonable amount of compensation,” he said. “I think it will decrease somewhat, but it will still be very high,” he said. “I still don’t see a scenario that doesn’t talk about hundreds of millions of dollars.” This amount can also be challenged on appeal, where Jones’ attorneys already said he had filed or swept bankruptcy proceedings against Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems. The media company filed for bankruptcy in July, days before a Texas trial. Jones, who broadcast Wednesday’s verdict live on his show, ridiculed his sum and the idea of ​​not being able to pay any money, saying he couldn’t afford it. I have no money,” he said later on his show. Jones did not file for personal bankruptcy. He urged his audience to donate money to the company and purchase products from the store to “fight this scam” and “save Infowars”. Jones’ company has filed for bankruptcy, but it cannot be taken into account that such a process will affect the final verdict, legal experts said. Signorelli said, “If it is found that willful tort has been committed, remedies based on willful tort are generally not exempt from filing for bankruptcy.” Gessin said Jones would have to disclose his financial position if it turns out he could be discharged. If he tries to evade or hide financial transactions in bankruptcy, he could face criminal court where he faces a prison sentence for bankruptcy fraud, he said. “I think he will not be able to escape this judgment,” he said. But Jones has time, O’Neill points out. Collection will not occur until after-trial consent and all proceedings in the case have been resolved, including hearings for punitive damages and attorneys’ fees, which may take at least six months. The Sandy Hook family has a long way to go to see their payouts, but it could be financial ruin for Jones, Signorelli said. “The point of this whole case is that Alex Jones’ behavior is so serious that he will not receive any lenient or mercy from the courts or plaintiffs’ attorneys to enforce this judgment,” he said. .
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