After spending a decade using his platform to lie on the memories of dead children, conservative talk show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones got hit with an expensive truth this afternoon: he owes parents of kids killed in the Sandy Hook school massacre at least $4.1 million.
A jury in Austin, Texas, awarded Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin the money for damages that the jury had already ruled were caused by Jones using his popular talk show to claim that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax made up to help gun control advocates strip away Second Amendment rights. Lewis and Heslin’s son, six-year-old Jesse Lewis, was one of 20 kids in first-grade and six of their teachers were slaughtered when a gunman armed with an assault rifle entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.
Lewis and Heslin, who never saw their son alive after he went to school that day, are painfully aware that Sandy Hook was no hoax. And so was Jones, despite what he told his listeners for years. On Wednesday, the couple’s lawyers came with receipts in the form of every text message Jones sent over the past two years, and in them was proof of Jones’ lies.
...a lawyer for Sandy Hook parents produced text messages from Mr. Jones’s cellphone showing that he had withheld key evidence in defamation lawsuits brought by the families for lies he had spread about the 2012 school shooting.
The messages were apparently sent in error to the families’ lawyers by Mr. Jones’s legal team.
“Mr. Jones, did you know that 12 days ago, your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you’ve sent for the past two years?” the parents’ lawyer, Mark Bankston, asked Mr. Jones.
The text messages were significant because Mr. Jones had claimed for years that he had searched his phone for texts about the Sandy Hook cases and found none.
Jones still has to face the jury again, when it will decide how much additional in punitive damages he owes.
In other news, it’s Wednesday, and it rained.