Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has failed to shut down a defamation lawsuit brought against him by the parents of a Sandy Hook victim.
Judge Scott Jenkins of the 53rd District Court ruled in Austin, Texas, on Thursday that the Infowars host must face claims from Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa. They’re seeking more than $1 million in damages for his repeated lies about the 2012 massacre. The ruling came after Jones attempted to get his case dismissed earlier this month.
“After considering the arguments of counsel and the record, including plaintiffs’ declarations filed on August 2, the court ORDERS that defendants’ motion is in all respects DENIED,” the court filing said.
Pozner and De La Rosa lost their 6-year-old son, Noah, when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In the years since, Sandy Hook parents have received death threats and online harassment from followers of Jones’ Infowars, an online conspiracy outlet that has claimed the shooting was a hoax and the parents are “crisis actors.”
Jones’ lawyer Mark Enoch argued the case should be dismissed under the Texas Citizens Participation Act, which protects citizens who have been sued for exercising their First Amendment rights. Jones had also been seeking more than $100,000 in court costs from the parents.
This is one of a pair of related lawsuits filed in April. As first reported by HuffPost, Pozner and De La Rosa, along with Neil Heslin, the father of another child, became the first Sandy Hook parents to sue Jones. They claim Jones and Infowars contributor Owen Shroyer have called the parents liars and sought to delegitimize their trauma.
In one instance, Jones claimed that an interview between De La Rosa and CNN’s Anderson Cooper was faked.
“So here are these holier than thou people, when we question CNN, who is supposedly at the site of Sandy Hook, and they got in one shot leaves blowing, and the flowers that are around it, and you see the leaves blowing, and they go [gestures]. They glitch,” Jones said, according to a transcript quoted in the lawsuit. “They’re recycling a green-screen behind them.”
Infowars followers have hounded the parents for years. In one case detailed in the complaint, Pozner received threatening voicemails that eventually led to the arrest and conviction of Florida woman Lucy Richards. In June 2017, Richards, then 57, was sentenced to five months in prison after sending Pozner a voicemail that warned, “You gonna die. Death is coming to you real soon.”
As part of her sentence, Richards will no longer be allowed to access Infowars, according to the lawsuit.
During the hearing, Kelly Jones, the former wife of Alex Jones, protested outside the Travis County courthouse in support of the parents, with signs that read “Honk 4 Sandy Hook kids.”
“Texans do care about justice, we care about bullies,” Kelly said. “We’re a strong state and we don’t put up with people bullying kids or parents of murdered schoolkids. We’re not gonna tolerate that, we’re gonna stand out here and protest peacefully.”
Jones’ legal battles are wide-ranging and have no immediate end in sight. Earlier this month, Jones was also in court for a motion to dismiss a different defamation lawsuit against him, brought by Marcel Fontaine. Infowars incorrectly identified Fontaine as the Parkland, Florida, shooter who killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. Mark Bankston, of the law firm Farrar & Ball, is representing both the Pozner family and Fontaine in their respective lawsuits. Fontaine’s lawsuit will also move forward, Jenkins determined Thursday. Jones was removed as a defendant in that case, but Infowars and Free Speech LLC, which Jones owns and operates, will still be defendants.
Jones is also facing a defamation lawsuit from Brennan Gilmore, who recorded the violent vehicular attack that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer during last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Jones called Gilmore a “deep state shill” and a “CIA asset.”
And then there are the six Sandy Hook families in Connecticut who filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones in May. In their suit, the families, along with an FBI agent who responded to the shooting that day, listed number of videos by Jones with titles including “Sandy Hook Shooting Exposed As A Fraud.”
Jones is being represented by lawyer Marc Randazza and Jay Wolman of the Las Vegas-based Randazza Legal Group in the Connecticut suit. The firm is also currently representing neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, co-founder of hate-based website the Daily Stormer. Jones’ lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss that case.