A Texas judge has ordered Alex Jones and his Infowars hoax website to pay more than $100,000 in court costs and legal fees, marking the latest court victory for a Sandy Hook family suing Jones for his promotion of conspiracy theories about the 2012 elementary-school shooting.
Jones and Infowars are being sued by Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son was killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting. On Dec. 20, Travis County Judge Scott Jenkins granted a motion for sanctions and legal expenses against Jones and Infowars, ordering them to pay $65,825 for ignoring a court order about providing documents and witnesses. In another ruling issued that same day in Heslin’s case, Jenkins denied an Infowars motion to dismiss the case and ordered Jones and Infowars to pay an additional $34,323.80, for a combined total of $100,148.80 levied against Jones and Infowars in a single day.
Added to an earlier October order against Infowars, Jones and his outlet have been ordered to pay $126,023.80 over the case, even before it reaches trial.
“It’s hardly a surprise that someone like Alex Jones would soon find himself in contempt of court, but now he is learning there are severe consequences to his utter disrespect for this process,” Mark Bankston, one of Heslin’s attorneys, said in an email to The Daily Beast.
Infowars and Jones didn’t respond to requests for comment.
In a Dec. 9 motion for sanctions, Heslin’s lawyers alleged that Jones and Infowars had repeatedly flouted court rules in the case. In one instance, according to the plaintiff, Jones and Infowars committed to providing a corporate representative to discuss the outlet’s handling of the Sandy Hook massacre in a deposition. But when Infowars producer Rob Dew appeared for the deposition, he had little to no information about why Infowars had called the Sandy Hook parents “crisis actors.”
Heslin’s attorneys also alleged that Jones and Infowars failed to preserve Infowars’ social-media posts and messages on internal messaging app Slack before they moved to a different chat system.
“If Mr. Jones had simply accepted responsibility for his reckless lies and years of illegal harassment, this all could have been avoided,” Bankston wrote in an email to The Daily Beast. “Instead, Mr. Jones seems to prefer exiting into the dustbin of history in the most expensive and embarrassing way possible.”
This isn’t the first time the Heslin lawsuit has embarrassed Jones and Infowars. Earlier this month, Heslin’s attorneys published a video deposition with Paul Joseph Watson, a close Jones ally, who claimed he had warned Infowars that it was involved with “not credible” conspiracy theorists.
Jones and Infowars have also been accused of hampering discovery in Connecticut, where Jones is being sued by other Sandy Hook families. Infowars has repeatedly changed lawyers in those cases, prompting complaints from plaintiffs that the outlet is slowing down the legal process. And in an apparent act of incompetence, Jones’ legal team accidentally transmitted child pornography to the Connecticut plaintiffs during the discovery process, claiming later that the illegal images had been sent to Jones by anonymous trolls.