Alex Jones has asked a Connecticut judge to throw out a nearly $1 billion verdict against him and order a new trial in a lawsuit by Sandy Hook victims’ relatives over public claims he made about the mass shooting, while the families have asked the judge to impose the harshest possible punitive damages against the InfoWars host.
Jones filed the requests on Oct. 21, arguing that Judge Barbara Bellis’ pretrial rulings resulted in an unfair trial.
Jurors in his trial ordered Jones to pay nearly $1 billion to families of the Sandy Hook school massacre for defamation, slander, and emotional damages.
Jones for years claimed that family members of the Sandy Hook victims were actors who faked the tragedy and described the shooting as a staged hoax as part of a government plot to take away Americans’ guns.
Calling the Oct. 12 ruling against Jones a “substantial miscarriage of justice,” Jones’s legal team wrote in Friday’s motion that “the amount of the compensatory damages award exceeds any rational relationship to the evidence.”
Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the 15 plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Jones, declined to comment on the filing Saturday when asked by The Associated Press. Mattei did say, however, that he and other attorneys for the Sandy Hook families plan to file a brief opposing Jones’s request for a new trial.
Twenty first-grade schoolchildren and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School died in the Dec. 14, 2012 attack. Authorities said the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, first shot his mother at their home before going to the school, where he opened fire and later turned the gun on himself.
Harshest Possible Punitive Damages
The judge in Jones’s case ordered him to pay $965 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs and said punitive damages should be awarded. Hearings have been scheduled for early November to determine the amount of the punitive damages.
Families of the victims on Friday asked the judge to order Jones to pay the harshest possible penalty, with one calculation cited by Bloomberg suggesting the figure could be as high as $2.75 trillion.
“The only appropriate punitive damages award in this case is the largest award within the court’s power,” the families’ lawyers said in the filing, per Bloomberg. “The defendants have acted willfully, maliciously, and evilly, in full knowledge of the harm they are causing people who had no means to fight back, except to bring this case.”
During Jones’s trial, relatives of the victims said that they were threatened and harassed for years by people who believed his false claims about the massacre.
Jones has vowed not to pay the full amount.
“I got a couple of houses, a couple million bucks in the bank,” Jones told Newsmax on Oct. 14. “It’s a total joke. And so if they think they’re gonna get 900-plus million dollars, they’re gravely mistaken.”
Norm Pattis, Jones’s lawyer, wrote in the motions filed Friday that there was a lack of evidence directly tying Jones with the people who harassed and threatened the Sandy Hook families.
“Yes, the families in this case suffered horribly as a result of the murder of their children,” Pattis wrote, adding that Jones did not send people to harass and threaten the families.
“There was no competent evidence offered at this trial that he ever did,” he wrote. “Instead, there was a shocking abuse of a disciplinary default and its transformation into a series of half-truths that misled a jury and resulted in substantial injustice.”
Political commentator Michael Tracey reacted to news that Sandy Hook victims’ families were seeking the steepest possible punitive damages, saying in a post on Twitter that Jones was wrong but that the potential $2.75 trillion that has been cited in media reports as a possible punishment “seems crazy.”
“I actually covered the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 and saw, in person, the body of a dead first grader,” Tracey said. “So yeah, Alex Jones was wrong.”
“But this new idea that spreading crazy theories about news events somehow warrants ruinous *multi-trillion* dollar penalties… also seems crazy,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times