Oct. 2 (UPI) — A Texas judge has ruled that Infowars owner and host Alex Jones is responsible for damages to the families of two children killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Travis County Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ruled Thursday in favor of the parents who sued Jones for defamation after finding that the right-wing radio host failed to produce evidence to back up his claims that the massacre was a hoax. The judge also found that Jones “intentionally disobeyed” court orders to hand over evidence, NBC News reported.
“The court finds that defendants’ failure to comply … is greatly aggravated by [their] consistent pattern of discovery abuse throughout similar cases pending before this court,” Gamble wrote.
“The court finds that defendants’ discovery conduct in this case is the result of flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibility of discovery under the rules.”
An attorney for the two families, Mark Bankston, issued a statement to CNN welcoming the decision.
“Mr. Jones was given ample opportunity to take these lawsuits seriously and obey the rule of law. He chose not to do so and now he will face the consequences for that decision.”
Jones’ attorney, Brad Reeves, issued a statement on the Infowars website calling the ruling “stunning.”
“It takes no account of the tens of thousands of documents produced by the defendants, the hours spent sitting for dispositions and the various sworn statements filed in these cases,” he said.
“Nothing less than the fundamental right to speak freely is at stake in these cases. It is not overstatement to say the First Amendment was crucified today.”
The families, who filed their lawsuit in 2018, sought $1 million from Jones and his companies. They said Jones called the parents of the slain children “crisis actors” and that a Florida resident agreed so strongly with Jones’ claim that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax that she made death threats against a victim’s family.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza killed his mother, 20 first-graders, and six school employees at Sandy Hook Elementary, before killing himself.