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Opinion Alex Jones finally faces consequences. Hateful lies have to come with a cost.

04:30  05 august  2022
04:30  05 august  2022 Source:   usatoday.com

Testimony to start in Alex Jones' Sandy Hook damages lawsuit

  Testimony to start in Alex Jones' Sandy Hook damages lawsuit AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas jury will hear the first testimony Tuesday in a civil lawsuit to decide how much Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook Elementary School parents for falsely telling his audience that the deadliest classroom shooting in U.S. history was a hoax. At stake for Jones is a potentially major financial blow that could put his constellation of conspiracy peddling businesses into deeper jeopardy. He has already been banned from YouTube, Facebook and Spotify over violating hate-speech policies. The trial involving the parents of two Sandy Hook families is only the start for Jones.

Conspiracy theorist and human-body-in-search-of-a-soul Alex Jones is learning, at long last, there’s a price for lying. There’s a price for being a monster, for leveraging the pain of others to make a buck peddling deceit.

A Texas jury on Thursday ordered the host of the notoriously noxious Infowars website to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. It doesn’t sound like enough, not for the hell he put Neil Heslin, Scarlett Lewis and the other parents who lost children in the school shooting through.

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But it’s something. It’s a consequence of despicable lies, claims the shooting never happened, horrid assertions the parents were “crisis actors,” red-faced, blathered nonsense that they were participants in a “false flag operation” to rally people toward stricter gun control laws.

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It’s a consequence of forcing parents who had experienced an unspeakable tragedy to go into hiding, to face death threats, to never be able to fully grieve.

'I don't think you can recover'

During the trial this week, Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was murdered at Sandy Hook, was asked by one of her attorneys: “How do you recover from someone saying your child wasn’t murdered?”

Alex Jones concedes Sandy Hook attack was '100% real'

  Alex Jones concedes Sandy Hook attack was '100% real' Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones says he now understands it was irresponsible of him to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax.Speaking a day after the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 attack testified about the suffering, death threats and harassment they've endured because of what Jones has trumpeted on his media platforms, the Infowars host told a Texas courtroom that he definitely thinks the attack happened.

She paused and said this: “I don’t think you can recover. I don’t think you do recover. Unless it stops. Unless it’s retracted. Unless there’s accountability and there’s responsibility. And that hasn’t happened.”

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Thursday night  it did happen. And the compensatory damages are just the start. The Texas jury will now consider punitive damages, and Jones has been found liable in two other defamation lawsuits – one in Texas, one in Connecticut – by other families, so juries will continue to make him pay.

Alex Jones' lies were writ large

Many were disappointed the damages weren’t higher. The parents’ attorneys had asked for $150 million. Jones' attorney suggested a piggishly insulting $8 million.

Here’s how I see it: Alex Jones lost. His horrific lies were revealed and writ large. He was publicly scolded, over and over, by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who called him out for his lies and made him look like the petulant, small, opportunistic brat he is.

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  Trevor Noah Can't Stop Laughing at Alex Jones' Phone Contents Being Sent to Sandy Hook Families' Lawyers (Video) Trevor Noah couldn't keep it together during Wednesday's episode of "The Daily Show" when discussing the Alex Jones trial. The late night host burst into laughter as a clip that has now gone viral aired, showing the moment that the conspiracy theorist (who Noah called a "man who makes Donald Trump look like a decent human being") learned his lawyers had sent a digital copy of his phone's contents to the Sandy Hook families' legal team,The late night host burst into laughter as a clip that has now gone viral aired, showing the moment that the conspiracy theorist (who Noah called a "man who makes Donald Trump look like a decent human being") learned his lawyers had sent a digital copy of his phone's conte

At one point she told Jones: “It seems absurd to instruct you again that you must tell the truth while you testify, yet here I am. You must tell the truth while you testify. This is not your show.”

When Jones said he “believed” he was telling the truth, Gamble shot back: “You believe everything you say is true, but it isn’t. Your beliefs do not make something true. That is what we’re doing here. Just because you claim to think something is true does not make it true.”

A monster faces consequences

Jones is one of the most mendacious, malevolent public figures we have. The pain he put the Sandy Hook families through is only part of the staggering damage he has done to the idea of truth in this country, and to the standards of decency by which we should all abide.

Beyond the bile he spits, he has spawned an army of online trolls who treat his words as gospel and attack perceived enemies with dangerous vitriol. He feeds the id of lost souls, making himself rich in the process.

a man holding a microphone: Alex Jones, the founder of right-wing media group Infowars, addresses a crowd of pro-Trump protesters after they stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. © Jon Cherry, Getty Images Alex Jones, the founder of right-wing media group Infowars, addresses a crowd of pro-Trump protesters after they stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

We see too many horrid lies these days. From politicians. From pundits. From like-minded hordes on Twitter. “Groomer.” “Communist.” “Baby killer.” “Pedophile.”

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These words, slung by hysterics who believe they won’t face consequences for their prevarication, draw blood. They inflict deep pain, the kind of pain Sandy Hook parents have suffered since a Texas conspiracy babbler decided to worsen their lives for profit.

Jones penalty not enough, but a start

On the stand this week, Lewis looked directly at Jones and said: “In some way, you’ve impacted nearly every single day of my life, negatively, since Jesse was murdered.”

I hope, when all is said and done, Jones is buried in consequences. Buried in them.

And while the one he faced Thursday didn’t feel like enough, at least it was a start.

More from Rex Huppke:

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Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alex Jones finally faces consequences. Hateful lies have to come with a cost.

Sandy Hook Lawyer: Alex Jones Sent 'Intimate Photo' of Wife to Roger Stone .
Attorney Mark Bankston said the photo may not have been sent with the consent of Jones' wife, which he said might run afoul of state laws.Attorney Mark Bankston, who represents Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, made the remarks Monday during an interview on The Young Turks: The Conversation. During the interview, Bankston offered new details on the recently concluded trial that secured nearly $50 million in damages against Jones for saying that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax. The 6-year-old of Heslin and Lewis was among the 20 children killed in the shooting.

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This is interesting!