HARTFORD, Conn. — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has asked a Connecticut judge to throw out a nearly billion-dollar verdict against him and order a new trial in a lawsuit by Sandy Hook families who say they were harassed. and threats for Jones’ lies about the 2012 Newtown school shooting.
Jones filed the applications Friday, saying Judge Barbara Bellis’ pretrial rulings resulted in an unfair trial and “a substantial miscarriage of justice.”
“In addition, the amount of the compensatory damages award exceeds any rational relationship to the evidence offered at trial,” Jones’ attorneys Norm Pattis and Kevin Smith wrote in the motion.
Christopher Mattei, attorney for the 15 plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Jones, declined to comment on Saturday’s filing but said he and other attorneys for the Sandy Hook families will file a brief opposing Jones’ request.
Twenty first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School were killed in the December 14, 2012 attack.
An FBI agent who responded to the shooting and family members of eight children and adults killed in the massacre sued Jones for defamation and inflicting emotional distress for pushing the false narrative that the shooting was a hoax staged by “crisis actors” to impose more weapons. control.
Six jurors in Waterbury, Connecticut, ordered Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, on Oct. 12 to pay $965 million in compensatory damages to the plaintiffs and said punitive damages should also be awarded. Bellis has scheduled hearings for early next month to determine the amount of punitive damages.
During the trial, relatives of the victims said in often emotional testimony 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 to record them and confront them in public. People made abusive comments on social media. Family members said they received death and rape threats.
The verdicts came after another jury in Texas in August ordered Jones and his company to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the parents of another child killed in Sandy Hook. A third trial into the false claims, involving two other Sandy Hook parents, is expected to take place near the end of the year in Texas.
Jones, who has acknowledged in recent years that the shooting did occur, criticized the lawsuits and lawsuits on his Austin, Texas-based show Infowars, calling them unfair and a violation of his free speech rights.
But he lost his right to present those defenses when judges in Connecticut and Texas found him liable for default damages without trials, for what they called Jones’s repeated failures to turn over some evidence, including financial documents and website analysis, to the Sandy Hook attorneys. .
With liability now established, lawsuits in both states focused only on how much Jones should pay in damages.
Pattis, Jones’ attorney, wrote in the motions filed Friday that there was a lack of evidence directly connecting Jones to the people who harassed and threatened the Sandy Hook families. Pattis said the trial felt like a “memorial service, not a trial.”
“Yes, the families in this case suffered horribly as a result of the murder of their children,” Pattis wrote, adding that Jones did not send people to harass and threaten the families.
“No competent evidence was offered at this trial that he ever did,” he wrote. “Instead, there was a shocking abuse of a disciplinary breach and its transformation into a series of half-truths that misled a jury and resulted in substantial injustice.”