💰The Billion-Dollar Lie
It's been 10 years since the horrors of Sandy Hook. Now, 8 victims' families have won a long and hard-fought legal battle that will award them some $1 billion, and leave conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones in financial ruin. Last week, a jury in Connecticut (where the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings took place) awarded 15 plaintiffs the enormous sum for damages sustained by Mr. Jones who, within hours of the mass shooting, called the massacre a hoax and repeated it for years on his popular Infowars radio show to large profits.
As The New York Times reports, a forensic economist estimated in August that Jones's media empire may be worth a combined total of $270 million, far short of the billion-dollar award. Furthermore, Jones has "claimed that a debt of $54 million — owed to a company he controls — had made him insolvent."
Meanwhile, also in August, The Times notes that Jones filed for bankruptcy in federal court. However, the victims' families have since then said that the talk radio host has "systematically transferred millions of dollars" to himself and his family to hide his assets.
"Every day in that courtroom, we got up on the stand and we told the truth," Robbie Parker, whose daughter Emilie was killed in the school shooting, and who won the largest award in the case, said. "Telling the truth shouldn’t be so hard, and it shouldn’t be so scary."
But the right-wing media star was defiant after the verdict, saying, "they covered up what really happened, and now I’m the devil … I’m actually proud to be under this level of attack."
The Texas Cases
The Connecticut case is not the first aimed at silencing the Infowars host for his "gold rush of fear and misinformation," says the Texas Tribune. Over the summer, a jury in the Lone Star state awarded the parents of a Sandy Hook victim $45.2 million — a sum Jones's lawyers said they would appeal. "You’ve already sent a message," one lawyer said, arguing that the multi-million dollar sum should be reduced to $270,000. Yet, an economic expert told the jury that Jones personally made $18 million a year between 2015-2018 hawking his conspiracy theories and pushing his products, and made $61.9 million in 2021 alone.
While this verdict against Jones is a long-time coming, the size of the award may still be in question given any potential appeals. Yet, for a media mogul who was racking up hundreds of millions over the years, maybe it's not such a farfetched sum.