Live news updates: DraftKings stock leaps on improved financial guidance and customer engagement

view original post
© AP

A Texas jury on Friday ordered far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2mn in punitive damages in a lawsuit brought by the parents of a child who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

The additional award comes a day after the same jury awarded $4.1mn in compensatory damages to Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, and brings the total award to nearly $50mn, although that could be reduced as Texas state law caps non-economic damages.

Jones, a far-right media firebrand, has courted controversy for years on InfoWars, his website and radio show. The Sandy Hook cases pose the first significant financial threat to Jones and his company — which together are estimated to be worth as much as $270mn, according to an expert witness who testified on behalf of the parents.

A lawyer for the parents, Wesley Ball, on Friday urged jurors to “send a message” with their punitive damages award on Friday: “Stop Alex Jones, stop the monetisation of misinformation and lies.”

Lewis and Heslin, whose son Jesse Lewis was killed at Sandy Hook as a 6-year old, had requested as much as $150mn in compensation for emotional torture, saying their lives were made a “living hell” by strangers who sent them death threats and who wrongly believed the couple faked their own child’s death based on Jones’ comments.

They sued Jones for falsely claiming the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six teachers were killed, was a hoax staged to justify gun control.

During his testimony at trial, Jones conceded that he had spread falsehoods about the deadliest US school shooting, saying it was “100 per cent real” and not a “false flag” operation, as he had long claimed. He also expressed remorse for “unintentionally” hurting people’s feelings.