Alex Jones, the Infowars founder and conspiracy theorist who claimed that the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012 was a hoax, has lost two defamation lawsuits filed in Texas by victims’ families because he failed to provide requested information to the court, filings show.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued the rulings on Monday in the Civil District Court of Travis County. They were made public on Thursday, HuffPost reported. A lawyer for the parents of children killed in the attack, Mark D. Bankston, provided copies of the filings to The New York Times on Friday.
The defendants, including Mr. Jones and his digital channel, Infowars, had made “persistent discovery abuses” by failing to turn over documents as required and by failing to carry out other obligations required by the court, Judge Guerra Gamble wrote in the filings.
Mr. Bankston said the next step would be a trial scheduled for March 28, when a jury will decide the damages.
This week’s rulings were the latest twist in the legal battles against Mr. Jones since he and his Infowars media operation began spreading false claims that the shooting that killed 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was an elaborate hoax.
In 2018, after the families of the victims were stalked and threatened, parents of two children killed at Sandy Hook accused Mr. Jones of defamation in lawsuits filed in Austin, Texas, where Infowars is based.
One was filed by Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose 6-year-old son, Noah, was killed at the school. Another lawsuit was filed by Neil Heslin, whose son, Jesse Lewis, was also fatally shot. Scarlett Lewis, Jesse’s mother, filed a third lawsuit.
In 2019, the Texas Court of Appeals rejected Mr. Jones’s efforts to have all three cases dismissed on free speech grounds. The same year, Judge Scott Jenkins of Travis County District Court held Mr. Jones in contempt for failing to produce records in Mr. Heslin’s suit, ordering Mr. Jones to pay $25,875 in lawyer fees.
In her rulings on Monday, Judge Guerra Gamble addressed the other two lawsuits.
In an order granting Ms. Lewis’s motion for contempt, Judge Guerra Gamble cited the defendants’ “general bad faith” toward the litigation, and mentioned Mr. Jones’s “public threats” as well as his belief that the proceedings were “show trials,” the document said.
The defendants “intentionally disobeyed the court’s order” by failing to provide documents for discovery, depositions and other obligations, she wrote.
She made the same ruling for Mr. Pozner and Ms. De La Rosa, saying that the defendants “unreasonably and vexatiously failed to comply” with their duties.
In a statement on Friday, Mr. Bankston said Mr. Jones was given “ample opportunity to take these lawsuits seriously and obey the rule of law.”
“He chose not to do so, and now he will face the consequences for that decision,” Mr. Bankston said.
A lawyer for Mr. Jones and Infowars, Norm Pattis, said in a statement on the Infowars website that the default ruling was “stunning” and a “blatant abuse of discretion.”
“It takes no account of the tens of thousands of documents produced by the defendants, the hours spent sitting for depositions and the various sworn statements filed in these cases,” Mr. Pattis said.
Mr. Jones had spread the false claim that the Sandy Hook shooting was a fraud, and that the victims’ relatives were actors in a hoax planned by government “gun grabbers.”
In 2015, he showed viewers Mr. Pozner’s personal information and maps to addresses associated with his family, according to court documents. Lucy Richards, an avowed Infowars listener, made repeated death threats against Mr. Pozner, sending the family into hiding.
In 2017, Mr. Jones made a brief broadcast to offer the Sandy Hook parents “sincere condolences” for the loss of their children in “the horrible tragedy.” He has blamed the media for inconsistencies in the coverage of the shooting.
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