New York (CNN Business)Texas jury finds Alex Jones $45.2 million in punitive damages decided. Parents of Sandy Hook shooting victim Jesse Lewis.
Plaintiffs Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis received just under $50 million in total for both compensatory and punitive damages. Of the $49.3 million total, $45.2 million of punitive damages may be reduced under Texas law.
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble finds Jones liable for defamation and "intentional infliction of emotional distress" against Lewis, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble notes After that, the jury began its deliberations around 12:30 pm on Friday. and Heslin.
In Friday's emotional closing argument, Lewis and Heslin's attorney Wesley Todd Ball told jurors: and lie. Please.
Jones' attorney, Andino Raynal, immediately raised the issue of Texas law and the amount of punitive damages in court, and then again while speaking outside the court.
"I think the verdict is too high. Texas law caps punitive damages at $750,000 per plaintiff, so today's verdict is punitive." worth $1.5 million Alex Jones is on the air today, he's on the air tomorrow, he's on the air next week. This is our only statement.
Judge Gamble granted Reynal's objection in court, but did not immediately rule.
"There are laws in the United States that claim they trust jurors, and they don't trust jurors. It's true," Gamble said at the time. We are confident that we have properly reflected the law, so there is no need to worry."
CNN reached out to plaintiffs' attorneys for comment on Raynal's allegations.
During closing arguments, Ball told the jurors to "dissuade Alex Jones from doing this terrible thing again" and that "anyone else who might try to step into his shoes"
Reynal argued for a much lower sum, and the jury found Jones' alleged hourly earnings of $14,000 and Jones' talk of Sandy Hook on Infowars. He suggested that the 18 hours he said would need to be multiplied together, arguing that the total would be about a quarter. million dollars.
Bernard Pettingill testifying on 5 August
Punitive damages are a form of punishment for a defendant's actions. Jones, head of conspiracy theorist news outlet Infowars, repeatedly lied about the Sandy Hook massacre. He has fueled conspiracy theories about victims and their families and has led to multiple defamation lawsuits. He has since admitted that a mass shooting occurred.
Jones claimed in his testimony that a jury prize of just $2 million would ruin him financially. But on Friday morning, jurors heard testimony about Jones' wealth from economist Bernard Pettingill Jr. Pettingill, who examined several years of records from Jones and Infowars parent company Free Speech Systems. Jr. said Jones used a series of shell companies to hide his money.
Jones testified that he used two large loans to make it look like he was bankrupt when he wasn't.
"Alex He Jones knows where the money is. "I know," said Pettingill, Jr.
After one of his jurors asked him about the difference between Jones' money and his company's money, Pettingill his Jr. said, ``You cannot separate Alex Jones from the company. It is."
Jones "monetized his ruse," he added, even suggesting that Jones could teach a college course on his craft.
Jones on Infowars Over the years, the fear-mongering rant has been combined with advertising for supplements, documentaries, and other products Infowars sells. Pettingill, Jr. said the money was poured into nine different companies owned by Jones that he identified.
"He was a very successful person, spreading hate speech and misinformation, but he made a lot of money and monetized it," Pettingill Jr. said on the stand. said in "My take on him is that he didn't ride the wave, he made the wave."
"I remember him saying that, but the records don't reflect that." '' said Pettingill Jr. In his closing arguments, Ball claimed that Jones was hiding more money elsewhere, and that $4.1 million was part of Jones' proverbial "He's probably already collected donations," Ball said from fans.