Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist and repeated loser of court battles, was ordered Wednesday to pay more than $20,000 in attorney fees after losing another appeal in a defamation case related to the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He now owes nearly $150,000 in legal fees before he even faces a jury.
The Texas Court of Appeals sided with Sandy Hook father Neil Heslin, who for years has been attacked by conspiracy theorists who falsely claim the school shooting in which 20 children and six adults were killed never happened.
Heslin’s lawsuit accuses Jones and his website, Infowars, of defamation after Jones claimed the parents of the dead children were “crisis actors” who helped stage the shooting. Jones is now being sued by nine family members of people who died in the shooting.
Jones’ most recent appeal to dismiss Heslin’s lawsuit was found to be “frivolous,” the court ruled Wednesday. Jones was ordered to pay $22,250 in attorney fees.
Jones was also ordered to pay approximately $25,000 in October after a court sanctioned him. And in December, he was ordered to pay $100,000 in legal fees after a Texas judge ruled his defense team “intentionally disregarded” an earlier order to produce witnesses.
Attorney Mark Bankston, who is representing Heslin and other families suing Jones, told HuffPost in a statement that the latest victory for his client spells the end for Jones.
“It is rare to see a legal defense so incompetent and disrespectful to the rule of law that it causes a defendant to rack up $150,000 in fines during preliminary motions before even reaching trial,” Bankston said. “These fines are only the beginning. A far greater reckoning awaits Mr. Jones.”
Former allies have turned against Jones during his legal battle. Rob Jacobson, a former Infowars editor, testified in a deposition that staff laughed at him when he warned them against spreading lies about Sandy Hook.
“I told [Jones] straight to his face: ‘They’re going to come after you for Sandy Hook. This is really bad,’” Jacobson said. “He just stared at me like a deer in the headlights, he had nothing to say. And we just went on our way.”
Paul Watson, Jones’ longtime friend and a contributor to Infowars, testified in December that he also warned Jones to leave the parents alone, but was largely ignored.
Jones was most recently in the news after he was caught peddling a toothpaste he falsely claimed could kill the deadly coronavirus.