The other shoe dropped in the Alex Jones case as the jury ordered him to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre, bringing the total up to $49.3 million.
It is still less than the value of his reported assets but is more than a slap on the wrist.
Legal wrangling that is standard after these types of cases – including a promised appeal – means the amount Jones ultimately pays may be far below $49.3m. But the ruling nonetheless represents a victory for loved ones of Sandy Hook victims and a major rebuke for one of the country’s most notorious conspiracy theorists.
The jury’s award Thursday was to compensate Heslin and Lewis for Jones’s actions. The one Friday – doled out after about four hours of deliberations – was meant to punish Jones for conduct the jurors, through their unanimous decision, found to be egregious.
Jones’ appeal would aim to drastically reduce the jury’s award against him – if not eliminate it altogether. [His lawyer] Reynal on Friday had argued that $270,000 in punitive damages was fair, relying on a state law capping such damages a significant amount below what the jury awarded.
The baseless Sandy Hook conspiracy is far from the only theory of that kind which Jones has propagated on Infowars, which is often derided in some quarters for selling pills marketed as helping men achieve firmer erections.
He also lied about a Washington DC pizzeria being the home to a child sex-abuse ring, inspiring a man to go there and fire a high-powered rifle inside. Another centered on a myth that a yogurt factory supported child rapists who spread tuberculosis.
Jones was forced to apologize for both of those. He did not appear to be in the courtroom for the reading of Friday’s verdict.
There are as yet two more cases against him, one in Texas and another in Connecticut.