Alex Jones seeks new trial after $1B Sandy Hook verdict

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has asked a Connecticut judge to throw out a nearly $1 billion judgment against him and order a new trial in a lawsuit by Sandy Hook families who say they were victimized harassment and threats from Jones’ lies about the 2012 Newtown school shooting.

Jones filed the motions Friday, saying Judge Barbara Bellis’ pretrial rulings resulted in an unfair trial and “a substantial miscarriage of justice.”

“Additionally, the amount of compensatory damages exceeds any rational relationship to the evidence offered at trial,” Jones’ attorneys, Norm Pattis and Kevin Smith, wrote in the motion.

Christopher Mattei, an attorney for the 15 plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Jones, declined to comment on the filing Saturday, but said he and other attorneys for the Sandy Hook families will file a brief opposing Jones’ request.

Twenty first graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School died in the attack on December 14, 2012.

An FBI agent who responded to the shooting and relatives of eight children and adults killed in the massacre sued Jones for defamation and infliction of emotional distress over his pushing the false narrative that the shooting was a hoax staged by “crisis actors” to impose more weapons. management.

Six jurors in Waterbury, Connecticut, on Oct. 12 ordered Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, to pay $965 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs and said punitive damages should also be awarded. Bellis has scheduled hearings early next month to determine the amount of punitive damages.

During the trial, the victims’ relatives said in often emotional testimony that they were threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies told on Jones’ show. Strangers showed up at the families’ homes to record them and publicly confronted them. People threw crude comments on social media. Relatives said they received death and violence threats.

The verdicts came after another Texas jury in August ordered Jones and his company to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of another slain Sandy Hook child. A third trial over the hoax claims involving two more Sandy Hook parents is expected to be held at the end of the year in Texas.

Jones, who in recent years has acknowledged that the shooting took place, has blasted the lawsuits and lawsuits on his Austin, Texas-based Infowars show, calling them unfair and an infringement on his free speech.

But he lost his right to present those defenses when Connecticut and Texas judges found him liable without trial for what they called Jones’ repeated failures to turn over some evidence, including financial documents and site analyses, to the Sandy Hook lawyers.

With liability already established, the lawsuits in both states focused only on how much Jones would have to pay in damages.

Pattis, Jones’ attorney, wrote in the motions filed Friday that there was a lack of evidence directly linking Jones to the people who harassed and threatened the Sandy Hook families. Pattis said the trial looked like a “memorial, not a trial.”

“Yes, the families in this case suffered terribly as a result of the killing of their children,” Pattis wrote, adding that Jones did not send people to harass and threaten the families.

“No competent evidence was offered at this trial that he ever did,” he wrote. “Instead, there was a shocking abuse of a disciplinary breach and its transformation into a series of half-truths that misled a jury and resulted in substantial injustice.”

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