Sandy Hook

Jury Reaches $965 Million Verdict in Alex Jones' Trial

Alex Jones
NBC Connecticut

Jurors on Wednesday reached a verdict in conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Connecticut defamation trial.

The jury said Alex Jones should pay $965 million to people who suffered from his lies about the Sandy Hook school massacre.

Jones and his company were found liable for damages last year. The six-person jury is tasked with determining how much the Infowars show host should pay to 15 plaintiffs -- including victims’ families and an FBI agent -- for calling the 2012 massacre a hoax.

The jury has been instructed to arrive at two compensatory damages amounts per plaintiff: one sum for defamation damages and another for emotional distress damages. Jurors also will decide whether Jones should pay punitive damages; the judge would decide the amounts later.

Each compensatory damages amount has to be at least $1, but there is no cap. The plaintiffs' lawyers have suggested total damages could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Jones has bashed the trial as a “kangaroo court,” described it as an affront to free speech rights, and called the judge a “tyrant.” His lawyer told the jury that any damages awarded should be minimal.

During the trial, jurors had revisited testimony from the husband of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim as a third full day of deliberations began Wednesday.

At the jury’s request, court began with a replay of a roughly hourlong audio recording of William Sherlach’s trial testimony. His wife, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, was among the 26 people killed in the 2012 shooting.

Her husband is among the lawsuit’s 15 plaintiffs, who include victims’ relatives and an FBI agent. All testified about being harassed by people who say the shooting was staged in a plot for more gun control.

William Sherlach, who goes by Bill, testified that he worried for his and his family’s safety because of the shooting deniers’ vitriol.

Sherlach testified that he saw online posts falsely positing that the shooting was a hoax; that his wife never existed; that she didn’t have the credentials to be a school psychologist; that his family was actually named Goldberg and lived in Florida; and that he was part of a financial cabal and somehow involved with the school shooter’s father.

Six Connecticut jurors returned for a third full day of deliberations Wednesday in the trial over how much conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should pay relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting for calling the massacre a hoax.

Sherlach didn’t testify about receiving any harassing messages directly, though he also said that he didn’t have social media accounts or use email. Nor did he mention anything that Jones said specifically.

The jury in Waterbury has begen to hear closing arguments Thursday in conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' defamation trial over his calling the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School a hoax.
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