At the height of his success, he was paying himself up to $6 million a year. Notorious far-right conspirator Alex Jones was sentenced in Texas on Friday to pay a $45.2 million fine to the parents of a boy killed in America’s worst-ever school shooting, which he denied was real .
The day before, the founder of the Infowars site had already been ordered to pay more than four million dollars in damages to Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, whose six-year-old son died in the massacre at the Sandy Hook school in 2012. A young man armed with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 children and six adults in this Connecticut establishment, causing fear in the United States and reigniting the debate on measures to regulate firearms sales .
Alex Jones, a well-known figure on the far right and follower of conspiracy theories, had, against all evidence, affirmed on his site that the massacre was only a staging led by opponents of firearms.
Two more trials to come
The process is far from over. Alex Jones’ attorneys have said they will file a lawsuit to limit damages to $1 million, as permitted by Texas law. Jones bankrupted several of his companies behind the InfoWars site, claiming he was crumbling in debt. But for the families’ lawyers, this is just a sleight of hand. An expert testified that Alex Jones started transferring up to $11,000 a day when his legal troubles got serious. The accountant figures the net worth of the conspirator between 135 and 270 million dollars.
These sentences are only the first of a series of proceedings brought by the relatives of the victims. Several families had sued him for compensation. He had finally publicly admitted the reality of the killing, while refusing to cooperate with the courts.
Judges in Texas and Connecticut had therefore condemned him by default to pay damages to the plaintiffs, while leaving it to jurors to set their amount. Other financial sanctions should follow soon and could deprive Alex Jones of his platform.