A Connecticut jury decided on Wednesday that controversial radio host Alex Jones must pay $965 million to the people that were negatively impacted when he publicly declared that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a lie and that grieving families were paid actors.
According to The Associated Press, a lawsuit filed by the families of five child victims and three educators, along with an FBI agent, led to a Connecticut jury declaring that Jones pay this settlement. The Associated Press reported that the lawsuit had “accused Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, of using the mass killing to build his audience and make millions of dollars.”
ABC News reported that Jones said that he believed at the time that Sandy Hook was a hoax, but over time, began to believe that it really happened. He declined to apologize for what he did. According to ABC News, grieving families received threats and harassment following the shooting.
This isn’t the first payment Jones has had to make for what he said about Sandy Hook. In August, according to NBC News, Jones had to pay almost $50 million to Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, who are the parents of a victim named Jesse. Jones faces another trial that could also result in him paying a hefty settlement.
During the trials, according to NBC News, Jones said, “I legitimately thought it might have been staged and I stand by that. I don’t apologize for it.”
How will Jones afford the settlement?
According to The New York Times, Jones’ net worth comes from his businesses — “his and Free Speech Systems’ combined net worth likely fell between $135 million and $270 million.” Jones filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, the Deseret News reported. It’s unclear how he will afford this massive settlement.