In order to determine punitive damages against the Infowars founder, a lawyer for two Sandy Hook parents who are suing Alex Jones for defamation over his fraudulent “hoax” allegations about the shooting urged a Texas jury to do that on Friday.
During his closing remarks in the punitive damages phase of Jones’ defamation damages trial, attorney Wesley Ball said of the far-right conspiracy theorist, “Take him out of this discourse of this misinformation, of this peddling of lies and make sure he can’t do it again.”
He said, “I beg that with your decision you not only take Alex Jones’ platform away, but you also ensure he won’t recreate the platform. “That is a penalty. That acts as a deterrent.”
The parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, one of the 26 people slain in the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, shooting, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, were the plaintiffs in the civil action, and on Thursday the jury awarded them $4.1 million in compensatory damages.
The parents’ attorneys now want the jury to order Jones to pay $145.9 million in punitive damages to them in order to reach the $150 million total damages they sought at the start of the two-week trial.
Ball told the Travis County District Court jury that Alex Jones served as “patient zero” for society’s inability to speak truthfully. “He is alternative facts patient zero.”
Ball added, “I hope with your verdict he can go gone. I pray we never see someone like him again.”
In response to Jones’ fabrications on the mass massacre, Heslin and Lewis filed a defamation lawsuit against him and his media outlet, Free Speech Systems.
For his portrayal of the rampage, which was the bloodiest K–12 school massacre in American history, Jones has already been found guilty by default by a Texas court and a court in Connecticut.
Despite being “extremely thrilled” that the jury had already granted his clients $4.1 million, which will change their lives “forever,” Ball told the jury that Alex Jones’ life “isn’t even the slightest bit affected by anything.”
Ball said that this stage was necessary because the verdict “doesn’t punish and it doesn’t discourage thus far in any way.”
A forensic economist who testified earlier on Friday in the hearing assessed that Jones and his media companies have a combined net worth of between $135 million and $270 million.
Ball informed the jury that a text message from Jones stating that he gained $4 million in one week “years after” he was de-platformed from social media platforms was among the information accidentally delivered last month to the opposing counsel’s cell phone.
Ball referred to Jones’ testimony in his own defense during the trial as “essentially a lie,” saying that “we know that everything the man stated on the witness stand is a falsehood.” “He lies when he breathes.”
F. Andino Reynal, the defense counsel for Jones, urged the jury to render a verdict that was “fair and proportionate,” or $270,000, on Friday.
The jurors was informed by Reynal, “You have already conveyed a message.” For the first time, you conveyed to a talk show host—and to all talk show hosts—that their standard of care must differ.
The jury’s deliberations on the case have started.