AUSTIN, Texas — Jury selection is set for Monday in a trial that will determine for the first time how much Infowars host Alex Jones will pay Sandy Hook Elementary School parents for falsely telling his audience that the deadliest shooting in U.S. history was a hoax used to be.
The trial in Austin, Texas — where the conspiracy theorist lives and broadcasts his show — follows months of delays. Jones has been fined for disobeying court orders, and he has placed Infowars under bankruptcy protection just before the trial was originally set to begin in April.
For Jones, another potentially major financial blow is at stake that could jeopardize his constellation of conspiracy that could endanger businesses. He has already been banned from YouTube, Facebook and Spotify for violating hate speech policies.
The process involving the parents of two Sandy Hook families is just the beginning for Jones; damages have yet to be awarded in separate cases of defamation to other families of the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut massacre.
The lawsuits do not ask the jurors to award Jones any particular dollar amount.
Texas and Connecticut courts have already held Jones liable for libel for his portrayal of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax involving actors to increase gun control. In both states, judges have issued absentee sentences against Jones for failing to respond to court orders and hand over documents.
The 2012 shooting killed 20 first-graders and six teachers. Families of eight of the victims and an FBI agent who responded to the school are suing Jones and his company Free Speech Systems.
Jones has since admitted that the shooting took place. In a statement in April, Jones insisted he was not responsible for the suffering Sandy Hook’s parents say they endured because of the hoax conspiracy, which included death threats and harassment from Jones’ followers.
“No, I don’t accept responsibility because I wasn’t trying to cause pain and suffering,” Jones said, according to the transcripts made public this month. He continued: “They are being used and their children who cannot be returned (are) being used to destroy the First Amendment.”
Jones claimed in court records last year that he had negative net worth of $20 million, but Sandy Hook family lawyers have painted a different financial picture.
Court records show that Jones’s Infowars store, which sells nutritional supplements and survival gear, made more than $165 million between 2015 and 2018. Jones has also urged listeners to his Infowars program to donate money.