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A judge just ordered professional conspiracy theorist and leader of the right-wing site Infowars Alex Jones to pay more than $100,000 in legal fees related to a court case filed against him by a family who lost a child in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported on the ruling. This is just the newest victory in the long battle between Jones and those directly affected by Sandy Hook, several of whom are suing him for spreading a debunked conspiracy theory that suggested the 2012 elementary school mass shooting was a hoax; the theory further claimed that no one died, when 20 children and six adults were killed by a perpetrator.
Jones is currently facing two separate lawsuits against him and his company from Neil Heslin, Leonard Pozner, and Veronique De La Rosa, parents of children who died at Sandy Hook, according to The Cut. While neither case is over yet, on Dec. 20, Travis County judge Scott Jenkins ordered Jones and Infowars to pay $65,825 for ignoring a court order about providing documents and witnesses and $34,323 to cover Heslin’s legal fees, according to the New York Times. Both payments are related to the Heslin suit. Jenkins said that Jones’ and Infowars’ approach to the case — which is wildly uncooperative — “should be treated as contempt of court,” according to the Times.
“It’s hardly a surprise that someone like Alex Jones would soon find himself in contempt of court, but now he is learning there are severe consequences to his utter disrespect for this process,” Mark Bankston, one of Heslin’s attorneys, said in an email to The Daily Beast.
“Mr. Jones is learning that he cannot treat the courts with the same contempt he showed my clients,” Bankston told the Times. “In disobeying court orders, Mr. Jones has shown how desperate he is to ensure nobody finds out how Infowars really operates, or the lengths the company went to carry out its five-year campaign of malicious harassment against these parents.”
That means this case hasn’t even reached trial yet, and Jones and Infowars already need to pay more than $100,000. According to the Times, the trial should be set some time in 2020.
Many of those whose families were affected by Sandy Hook have since worked to eradicate gun violence and advocate for stronger gun-control laws. After the attack, several people who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook founded Sandy Hook Promise, and Nelba Márquez-Greene founded the Ana Grace Project in memory of her daughter. Shannon Watts, who was horrified at the inaction in the aftermath of the shooting, founded Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense, which blossomed into the Everytown for Gun Safety organization.
“Nothing matters if your kid is dead. Nothing matters. It’s very simple,” JT Lewis, a Republican candidate for Connecticut state senate who lost his little brother in Sandy Hook, told MTV News this year about gun safety. “We need to fix this first. You’re not safe in your schools, you’re not safe in your communities, nothing else matters. This is a huge issue.”