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Alex Jones ordered to pay more than $965M in Sandy Hook trial

The judge has called this jury "conscientious" several times, something that was demonstrated after their first full day of deliberations last week.

WATERBURY, Conn. — Alex Jones has been ordered to pay eight families of Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent $965 million for both slander and emotional distress damages.

15 people were a part of the lawsuit claiming the lies Alex Jones and his company Free Speech Systems, which was also named in the lawsuit, spread after the 2012 shooting impacted their lives. The Newtown elementary school shooting took the lives of 20 students and six educators.

The verdict Wednesday came after 14 days of witness testimony and three days of jury deliberation. The jurors decided that Jones should also pay punitive damages, which are limited to attorney's fees and costs. Chris Mattei, representing the families, said these will be in addition to Wednesday's jury verdict.

The families of victims sitting in the gallery broke down as the verdict was read in Waterbury Superior Court. After the verdict was read, Jones' attorney Norm Pattis spoke to the media outside the courthouse saying it was not a verdict they expected.

RELATED: Reaction to Alex Jones Sandy Hook trial verdict pours in from across the internet

"I have never seen a trial like this," he said "We very much would like to file an appeal."

Pattis said it's a dark day for freedom of speech and that there was a "fix" in the case. Jones, during his Infowars show on Wednesday reacting to the verdict, said, "They want to scare us away from questioning Uvalde or Parkland. We're not going away. We're not going to stop."

The families of the Sandy Hook victims spoke alongside their four lawyers in front of the courthouse, thanking the jury for their work on the trial.

"I couldn't be more proud to stand here with all of these people," Robbie Parker, the father of Sandy Hook victim Emilie, 6, said. "Our lawyers helped give me the strength to finally find my voice."

"Every day in that courtroom, we got up on the stand and we told the truth," Parker added. "Everybody that got up on that stand told the truth, except for one...While the truth was being said in the courtroom, [Jones] was standing out here lying."

Nicole Hockley, the mother of Sandy Hook victim Dylan, 6, said the jury decision sends the message that good prevails.

"I have always believed in the goodness of people and when I first started engaging with followers of Alex Jones back in January 2013 I was looking for the good and I didn’t find it and I gave up until I decided to fight," she said. "Thank you for restoring my faith in people." 

"It shows that the internet is not the wild wild west and that your actions have consequences," Bill Sherlach, who lost his wife Mary in the shooting, said. "Going forward...people like Alex Jones will have to rethink what they say, how they say, it how long they say it."

Erica Lafferty, who lost her mother Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung in the shooting, said this was years in the making. She said she wishes she could call her mom and tell her about these big moments. While the verdict has been delivered, she said Jones will not be out of her life as the hate and conspiracy theories will follow.

"The truth matters," she said. "And those who profit off of other people's pain and trauma will pay for what they have done...they absolutely will be held accountable."

RELATED: Frequently Asked Questions: Alex Jones Trial

The verdict broke down as follows: 

William Aldenberg     

  • $45,000,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages    
  • $45,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $90,000,000.00   Total

Jacqueline Barden  

  • $10,000,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $18,800,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $28,800,000.00    Total

Mark Barden

  • $25,000,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $32,600,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $57,600,000.00    Total

Jennifer Hensel

  • $21,000,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $31,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $52,000,000.00   Total

Nicole Hockley

  • $32,000,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $41,600,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $73,600,000.00   Total

Ian Hockley

  • $38,000,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $43,600,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $81,600,000.00   Total

Erica Lafferty

  • $18,000,000.00   Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $58,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $76,000,000.00    Total

Robbie Parker

  • $60,000,000.00 Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $60,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $120,000,000.00   Total

William Sherlach

  • $9,000,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $27,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $36,000,000.00   Total

Carlee Soto-Parisi

  • $30,000,000.00 Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $36,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $66,000,000.00   Total

Carlos Soto

  • $18,600,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $39,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $57,600,000.00    Total

Dona Soto

  • $18,000,000.00 Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $30,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $48,000,000.00   Total

Jillian Soto

  • $30,000,000.00 Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $38,800,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $68,800,000.00   Total

David Wheeler  

  • $25,000,000.00 Compensatory / Defamation damages 
  • $30,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages 
  • $55,000,000.00   Total

Francine Wheeler

  • $24,000,000.00  Compensatory / Defamation damages
  • $30,000,000.00  Compensatory / Emotional Distress damages
  • $54,000,000.00   Total

Total damages awarded - $965,000,000.00

Jones took the stand only once during the trial in September. The Infowars host spoke with media outside the courthouse on multiple occasions calling the trial a "show trial" and "kangaroo court." He had also called the judge presiding over the case a "tyrant."

RELATED: Still no verdict as jury in Alex Jones trial continues deliberations

Before noon Tuesday, on their second full day of deliberation, the jury had a question for the court, questioning a line on page 17 of their jury charge document.

It read, “You must attempt to put each plaintiff in the same position as far as money could do it, that they would have been in had the defendant not engaged in the wrongful conduct.”

The families' lawyers told the judge that language is historic language and may not be helpful to the jury in this case, saying the language is more of a formality for other cases rather than directed to this case. They continued to say that line does not apply to this case, telling the jury they should focus on defamation and emotional distress damages as stated in the charge.

Alex Jones' attorney Norm Pattis objected to the language the families' lawyers used in their explanation note back to the jury. The Judge and counsel decided to respond to the jury by ultimately saying not to focus on specific sentences in the jury charge. The court said they would continue to welcome questions from the jury.

The jury also asked to review Bill Sherlach's testimony, which they did Wednesday morning. The video testimony was one hour and eight minutes long.

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The judge has called this jury "conscientious" several times, something that was demonstrated after their first full day of deliberations last week in Waterbury.

Beginning last Thursday, deliberations happened for less than an hour as the day was mostly packed with closing statements from the families' lawyers and Jones' lawyer.

On Friday, the jury returned with a request for a dry-erase easel, markers, an eraser, and a copy of the jury charge, instructions needed to decide. The request took several hours due to the instructions being nearly 30 pages long. 

They also asked to see a picture of David Wheeler and William Aldenberg. Wheeler is the father of Ben Wheeler and said he was the target of a conspiracy that he and Aldenberg were the same person. Aldenberg is an FBI agent who is also a plaintiff in the case. 

In the end, the jury decided they did not need the request fulfilled after all.

RELATED: Sides rest their case in Alex Jones defamation trial into Sandy Hook lies

Jones was already found liable for calling the Sandy Hook shooting a hoax on his Infowars show.

A separate defamation trial over the summer ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million to the Lewis family, who lost their son Jesse in the shooting. A third similar suit out of Texas is awaiting trial.

"After years, years of fear, threats, harassment, after realizing that Alex Jones’ cruelty and greed knew no bounds, they decided to take a stand," Mattei said.

As for payout, Mattei said they will see it through whether in bankruptcy court or in a state court. He said they will find whatever assets Jones has and ensure they are available to the families. 


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