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    Alex Jones ordered to pay USD965M for Sandy Hook lies

    WATERBURY, CONNECTICUT (AP) – Jurors ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (AP pic, below) on Wednesday to pay nearly USD1 billion to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims’ relatives and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, who said he turned their loss and trauma into years of torment by promoting the lie that the rampage was a hoax.

    The USD965 million verdict is the second big judgment against the Infowars host for spreading the myth that the deadliest school shooting in United States (US) history never happened, and that the grieving families seen in news coverage were actors hired as part of a plot to take away people’s guns.

    The verdict came in a defamation lawsuit filed by some of the families of 26 people who were killed in the 2012 shooting, plus an FBI agent who was among the first responders.

    A Texas jury in August awarded nearly USD50 million to the parents of another slain child.

    Robbie Parker, who lost his six-year-old daughter, Emilie, said outside the court that he was proud that “what we were able to accomplish was just to simply tell the truth”. The jury awarded him the most of any plaintiff: USD120 million.

    Jones wasn’t at court but reacted on his Infowars show. As courtroom video showed the jury awards being read out, Jones said that he himself had never mentioned the plaintiffs’ names.

    “All made up. Hilarious,” he said. “So this is what a show trial looks like. I mean, this is the Left completely out of control.”

    Jones’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, portrayed the trial as unfair and pledged to appeal. “Today is a very, very, very dark day for freedom of speech,” he said outside court.

    The jury awarded various sums to the victims’ relatives, who testified 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 and hurled abusive comments on social media.

    Mark Barden testified that conspiracy theorists urinated on the grave of his seven-year-old son, Daniel, and threatened to dig up the coffin.

    Testifying during the trial, Jones acknowledged he had been wrong. The shooting was real, he said. But in the courtroom and on his show, he was defiant.

    He called the proceedings a “kangaroo court”, mocked the judge, called the plaintiffs’ lawyer an ambulance chaser and labelled the case an affront to free speech rights.

    He claimed it was a conspiracy by Democrats and the media to silence him and put him out of business.

    “I’ve already said ‘I’m sorry’ hundreds of times, and I’m done saying I’m sorry,” he told jurors.

    The lawsuit accused Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, of using the mass killing to build his audience and make millions of dollars.

    Experts testified that Jones’ audience swelled, as did his revenue from product sales, when he made Sandy Hook a topic on the show.

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