Remember when Alex Jones kept pretending that the Sandy Hook shooting wasn’t real? It was kind of fun dunking on him when I wrote about the backstory, and then again when he lost one of the resulting lawsuits I thought that would be that, but I forgot that the judge in that case still had to decide upon the amount that Alex Jones owed the people he defamed. I think what the families are asking is fair and reasonable.
Sandy Hook families said a Connecticut judge should impose “the highest possible punitive damages” for Alex Jones, suggesting by one calculation that could be as high as $2.75 trillion.
That’s actually higher than the GDP of Canada, which is currently just a smidge under two trillion. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that casually asking a defendant to pay out a couple trillion may not be legally justifiable, especially when you’ve already won a billion, which we know you aren’t getting anyway. But let’s refrain from judgement until we see what their rationale is.
The families said that additional damages are warranted on top of a nearly $1 billion jury award because Jones broke a state law barring the sale of products using false statements. They reached the trillion-dollar sum by multiplying the state law’s up-to $5,000 per-violation fine by the 550 million social media exposures Jones’s audience received on his Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts in the three years following a school shooting that claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six educators in 2012. It was the largest of several damage calculation options the families offered the judge for assessing further penalties.
So the argument is that Alex Jones made false statements defaming the Sandy Hook parents. He also had advertisements for Super Male Vitality or whatever connected to these statements. Therefore, every single view he got for anything he posted on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or wherever else, means that he should pay everyone involved in this lawsuit $5,000.
I’m pretty sure that law only applies to lies used to sell a product directly. Unless Alex Jones was selling a product called “crisis actor begone,” and claimed that it protected you from the Sandy Hook parents I’m pretty sure this doesn’t apply. But then again, they’re asking for $2,750,000,000,000 in damages, so I may be overthinking this. Alex Jones is in a bad spot legally, but not quite a “I need a couple trillion for my legal fees,” bad.
It’s possible to have sympathy for Alex Jones while simultaneously understanding him to be a gatekeeping little grifter who is there to constantly miss the (((mark))) with everything. It’s also possible to dislike him and simultaneously dislike what the courts are doing to him. But personally I’m totally ambivalent on this, because if anyone deserves this it’s Alex Jones.
I mean, he’s guilty. He knowingly lied about not believing that a shooting occurred and claiming that all the parents were crisis actors. He admitted as such in court documents. And the political result of his actions is that serious anti-gun control activists have to now look idiotic by way of proximity to him.
Jones put Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, into creditor protection in Houston federal bankruptcy court this year, shortly before a different jury in Texas awarded one Sandy Hook family almost $50 million in defamation damages. The conspiracy theorist faces a third defamation trial by a final Sandy Hook family in Texas later this year.
It goes without saying that no one involved is collecting any of the original judgements, let alone the trillions that they are now asking for. In that respect these articles are purely to further humiliate Alex “Chinese control Hollywood” Jones. But again, he kind of deserves it.