Infowars host Alex Jones will be seen as a martyr for his recent defamation trial and he will remain a prominent figure in the US, according to a legal expert.
TUSEN legal analyst Elliot Williams argued Friday that the award of nearly $50 million in damages that Jones must pay to the parents of a victim of the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting will play into a “martyrdom complex.”
A court this week ordered Jones to pay $4.1 million in damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed in the shooting, and another $45.2 million in punitive damages.
Jones had repeatedly falsely claimed that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged and that those involved were so-called “crisis actors.” He admitted in court that the tragedy was real.
TUSEN’s Laura Coates asked a panel on Friday whether there is “a risk of him becoming a political martyr” after the trial. Contributor Alice Stewart argued that Jones would not, but Williams disagreed.
“For the first time tonight, I think we’re going to have a bit of a disagreement here,” Williams said. “No, I think he’s going to be a martyr here. He’s been talking about this nonsense in Infowars tonight, and there are people who listen to it and actually think this person is some kind of hero.’
He added: “So he’s someone the deep state and the leftists or whoever is coming after you – you Americans – now take $50 million away from Alex Jones. So I think the martyrdom complex kicks in, it will be completely being in force and going nowhere. And as you said, Laura, he still has his platform and he’s still going.”
News week has contacted Infowars for comment.
An Austin, Texas jury on Thursday ordered Jones to pay $4.1 million in damages to the late Jesse Lewis’ parents and made a further $45.2 million in punitive damages on Friday.
Following the jury’s decision on Thursday, Jones addressed the case in a video posted to Infowars, suggesting he would struggle to pay first prize.
“I admitted I was wrong,” Jones said. “I admitted I made a mistake. I admitted following misinformation, but not on purpose. I apologized to the families.”
“And the jury understood that. What I did to those families is wrong, but I didn’t do it on purpose,” Jones said.
He went on to say the damage was “more money than my company and I personally have,” as he said Infowars is currently bankrupt.
“We’ve reached the max. We can barely keep the crew working. We’re fighting hard for your First Amendment, your Second Amendment, your 10th Amendment, your sovereignty,” he said.
However, financial expert Bernard Pettingill told the court Friday that Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, had combined assets of between $135 million and $270 million.