A Texas judge has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $150,000 in legal fees after losing another appeal in a defamation case that targeted the Infowars host for using his show to promote falsehoods that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.
Jones and his website InfoWars were ordered by a judge in Austin, Texas to make an additional payment of $20,000 after he was sued by Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.
Heslin along with other families of the Sandy Hook victims say they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers because of the hoax conspiracy he promoted on his show.
Alex Jones (pictured) is being sued by families of Sandy Hook victims over his claims that the 2012 shooting was a hoax
Neil Heslin, father of six-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis
Heslin sued Jones after he called the account of his son’s death a lie and alleged other victims’ families were ‘crisis actors’. He is pictured here in 2013
The conspiracy claimed the shooting at the elementary school which left 20 first-graders and six teachers dead never happened.
The lawsuit argued that Jones and InfoWars defamed Heslin by calling his account of his son’s death a lie and alleging other victims’ families were ‘crisis actors’.
In a series of online rants, he had alleged the massacre was a ‘false flag operation’, staged by the government as an excuse to introduce stricter firearms controls.
Jones, 45, has since acknowledged that the Sandy Hook killings did occur. His attorneys have previously defended his speech in court as ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ and deny it was defamation.
Parishioners pay their respects at St Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Connecticut, to the victims of the elementary school shooting in December 2012
In Jones’ most recent appeal to dismiss Heslin’s lawsuit was found to be ‘frivolous,’ the court ruled Wednesday. Jones was ordered to pay $22,250 in attorney fees.
Jones’ bills are quickly racking up. He was already ordered to pay $25,000 in October and a further $100,000 in December.
Heslin’s and the other families attorney Mark Bankston told HuffPost that this most recent victory should mean the end for Jones.
‘It is rare to see a legal defense so incompetent and disrespectful to the rule of law that it causes a defendant to rack up $150,000 in fines during preliminary motions before even reaching trial,’ Bankston said in a statement. ‘These fines are only the beginning. A far greater reckoning awaits Mr. Jones.’
Jones appeared to ignore the advice of his colleagues when it came to attacking the Sandy Hook families.
Rob Jacobson who formerly worked for Infowars as an editor said that staff laughed at him after he warned against spreading lies about Sandy Hook.
‘I told Jones straight to his face: ‘They’re going to come after you for Sandy Hook. This is really bad,’ Jacobson said. ‘He just stared at me like a deer in the headlights, he had nothing to say. And we just went on our way.’
Earlier this month, Jones arrested for DWI in Austin. He has since claimed he was not ‘legally drunk’, had consumed a ‘small amount of sake rice wine’ at a Japanese restaurant and was ‘caught in a Travis County dragnet’.
But according to a police affidavit, he had actually consumed a bottle of sake, was ‘glassy eyed’ and had become involved in an altercation with his current wife Erika who had earlier called the cops to report a ‘family disturbance’ at their home.