A handful of lawsuits accusing InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of defamation against Sandy Hook victims will be allowed to move forward, despite Jones's attempts to squash them, The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday.
The four lawsuits, filed by parents of two children killed in the shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, were filed in Travis County, where Jones is based. The parents argue they have suffered emotional distress after Jones's comments.
In reference to the deadly shooting, in which 20 young children and eight adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, Jones claimed that "no one died" because it was a staged operation to demonize guns. After these comments, some of his followers reportedly harassed and stalked parents who were involved.
Neil Heslin, father of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, filed two lawsuits taking issue with Jones's statements that the Sandy Hook shooting was "a giant hoax" and disputing that Heslin held his dead son in his arms afterward.
Scarlett Lewis, mother of Jesse Lewis, took issue with Jones's statement saying the shooting was "as phony as a three dollar bill" and doubting the parents' grieving.
Citing that Jones believed the shooting was a "false flag" operation put on by gun activists, Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, parents of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, filed a suit.
Similarly, after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people, Jones made claims that students involved were "crisis actors" in a "deep state false flag operation." Jones also attacked survivor David Hogg, who was 17 at the time.
Another defamation lawsuit, relating to InfoWars misidentifying the Parkland shooter, was also allowed to move forward by The Texas Supreme Court. The incorrect information was left on the site for 13 hours, without a correction issued after it was taken down.
The Texas Supreme Court rejected all of the attempted dismissals on behalf of Jones's legal team without comment. However, Justices Jeff Boyd and John Devine dissented on the Pozner suit without giving a reason.
Jones rescinded his claims during a deposition in 2019, saying he was under a "form of psychosis" that made him believe the shootings and "basically ... everything was staged." He said this distrust resulted from "the media and the corporations lying so much."
Jones has a history of spreading misinformation, starting in the early 2010s, and has started many prevalent conspiracy theories. Jones has been vocal about conspiracies that the Sept. 11 attacks were an inside job, drinking water is contaminated with chemicals that "turn the freaking frogs gay" and that Democratic officials are involved in a sex-trafficking ring.
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