Deep Dive

Alex Jones, Infowars, and the Sandy Hook Defamation Suits

Attorney Mark Bankston questions Alex Jones on the stand during his trial.
Mark Bankston, lawyer for Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, asks Alex Jones questions about his emails and text messages during trial at the Travis County Courthouse, Austin, Texas, Aug. 3, 2022. (Pool Photo via Reuters/Briana Sanchez)

Alex Jones and his website Infowars have been the subject of multiple defamation lawsuits over his repeated claims that the 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was a “giant hoax.” Jones and Infowars continued to make these claims on broadcasts and in articles published on his website over the course of many years. Jones’ followers have harassed the families of the victims and many, in turn, filed suit against him for making defamatory statements that were knowingly false, or made with a disregard for the truth.

For news, analysis & additional materials read on.

First Amendment Watch Teaching Guide: Can First Amendment Defenses Save Provocateur Alex Jones From The Sandy Hook Libel?

Updated Nov. 28, 2023.

News & Updates

Nov. 28, 2023: Sandy Hook Families Offer To Settle Alex Jones’ Legal Debt For a Minimum of $85 Million

Sandy Hook families who won nearly $1.5 billion in legal judgments against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for calling the 2012 Connecticut school shooting a hoax have offered to settle that debt for only pennies on the dollar — at least $85 million over 10 years.

The offer was made in Jones’ personal bankruptcy case in Houston last week. In a legal filing, lawyers for the families said they believed the proposal was a viable way to help resolve the bankruptcy reorganization cases of both Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems.

But in the sharply worded document, the attorneys continued to accuse the Infowars host of failing to curb his personal spending and “extravagant lifestyle,” failing to preserve the value of his holdings, refusing to sell assets and failing to produce certain financial documents.

Dec. 2, 2022: Alex Jones Files for Personal Bankruptcy, Owes $1.5 Billion in Sandy Hook Trial Damages

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed for personal bankruptcy Dec. 2, citing the $1.5 billion in damages he owes to nine families who lost their children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. The damages were awarded to the families who the court determined endured a decade of defamation and emotional distress due to Jones’ conduct.

This personal filing follows a separate bankruptcy claim by his company, Free Speech Systems, that was filed in July. But the company’s filing sparked a probe into the finances of Free Speech Systems at the request of the nine families, who claimed Jones had “systematically transferred millions of dollars” to himself and relatives. The families alleged that the company’s bankruptcy was a ploy to avoid paying damages

Jones filed for Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. In the filing, Jones noted that the estimated worth of his assets is between $1 and $10 million, but that his liabilities are between $1 and $10 billion.

Nov. 10, 2022: Judge Orders Alex Jones to Pay Additional $473M in Punitive Damages to Sandy Hook Plaintiffs

Alex Jones and his company Free Speech Systems owe an additional $473 million in punitive damages to eight families who lost children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre as well as an FBI agent, Connecticut Judge Barbara Bellis ordered Thursday.

Judge Bellis awarded $323 million in attorney’s fees and costs, and $150 million under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In Connecticut, punitive damages are limited to attorney’s and legal fees, but since the families sued Jones using the Unfair Trade Practices Act, the punitive damages award is “not limited to the expenses of bringing the legal action,” wrote University of Connecticut Law Professor Sachin S. Pandya in an email to First Amendment Watch.

On Oct. 12 a Connecticut jury awarded the plaintiffs $965 million in defamation and emotional distress damages. This punitive damages award brings the total award to almost $1.5 billion. 

On Nov. 2 Judge Bellis also temporarily blocked Jones from transferring or moving assets out of the United States at the request of the plaintiffs who claimed Jones would attempt to avoid payment.

In her order, Judge Bellis noted that the harmful and malicious conduct of Jones against the plaintiffs was clear. “This depravity, and cruel, persistent course of conduct by the defendants establishes the highest degree of reprehensibility and blameworthiness,” she wrote.

Oct. 12, 2022: Connecticut Jury Awards Sandy Hook Plaintiffs $965 Million in Damages for a Decade of Harassment

Conspiracy theorist and Sandy Hook-denier Alex Jones owes $965 million in defamation and emotional distress damages to the families of eight Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent, a Connecticut jury decided Wednesday.

The families began to cry, held hands and consoled one another as the verdict was read which gave each of the plaintiffs millions in damages against Jones and his company Free Speech Systems. Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the families, joined the tearful exchange in the courtroom.

The ruling comes just weeks after Jones was ordered to pay nearly $50 million in damages to a pair of Sandy Hook parents in a separate trial in Texas in August. 

The court determined last year that Jones was liable by default in three separate lawsuits, after he and his company refused to turn over documents the court requested over the four-year litigation, including website analytics and financial records. This trial, the second of the three, was to strictly determine damages.

The families and FBI agent William Aldenberg, who responded to the shooting, sued Jones for defamation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress after the 15 plaintiffs spent the last decade being referred to as “crisis actors” by Jones who said the Sandy Hook shooting was a “hoax,” resulting in harassment from his followers. 

They also sued Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems, for violating the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act after he profited from the lies he’s told about the plaintiffs and the shooting on his Infowars show. 

In Connecticut, punitive damages are limited to attorney’s and legal fees, but since the families sued Jones using the Unfair Trade Practices Act, the punitive damages award is “not limited to the expenses of bringing the legal action,” wrote University of Connecticut Law Professor Sachin S. Pandya in an email to First Amendment Watch.

In his closing argument, Mattei asked the jury to understand the extent of Jones’ actions and this “lie machine” he had built. 

Mattei said the jury had witnessed evidence of defamation “on a historic scale” over the four-week trial, and that the families were targeted for the past decade while “in their most vulnerable moments.”

“Their lives were shattered on Dec. 14, 2012, but Alex Jones has made it so they can’t escape,” Mattei said.

“It is your job to make sure he understands the extent of the wreckage that he caused,” he continued. “Because you know damn well he doesn’t get it.”

Aug. 5, 2022: Jury: Alex Jones Owes Sandy Hook Couple $45.2 Million with Massive Punitive Damages Award

In a 10-day trial filled with bellicose theatrics, rebukes and grief, the jury in the Alex Jones defamation case decided Friday that Jones owes Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis $45.2 million in punitive damages. 

Jones’ attorney, F. Andino Reynal objected to the massive amount awarded by arguing that Texas law caps the amount that juries may award.

The day before the jury awarded the parents $4.1 million in compensatory damages. Heslin and Lewis lost their six-year-old son Jesse when Adam Lanza massacred 20 schoolchildren and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Early Friday, Travis County District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble asked jurors before deciding punitive damages to consider “the extent to which such conduct offends a public sense of propriety.”

In addressing the jury in final arguments, Reynal said, “Alex Jones was absolutely reckless. It was wrong and he admits it. Now, when you look at the degree of culpability of Alex Jones, keep in mind the national conversation. Keep in mind the truthers who were online and have been online.”

Aug. 4, 2022: Jury: Alex Jones Owes Sandy Hook Couple $4.1 Million as Punitive Damages Decision Pending

In a nine-day trial filled with bellicose theatrics, rebukes and grief, the jury on  the Alex Jones defamation case decided Thursday that Jones owed Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis $4.1 million in compensatory damages.

The next step in this civil case, one of three which Jones and his media company Free Speech Systems face, is for jurors to decide whether 6-year-old Jessie Lewis’ parents deserve punitive, or exemplary, damages.

On Friday, Travis County District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble asked jurors to consider “the extent to which such conduct offends a public sense of propriety.”

In addressing the jury in final arguments, Jones’ attorney F. Andino Reynal said, “Alex Jones was absolutely reckless. It was wrong and he admits it. Now, when you look at the degree of culpability of Alex Jones, keep in mind the national conversation. Keep in mind the truthers who were online and have been online.”

The $4.1 million in compensatory damages was far less than what was suggested by the parents’ counsel. Attorney Mark Bankston had argued for an award of  $150 million. Following the decision, Bankston told reporters, “A practical fear for Mr. Jones is if he’s going to have to walk out of this courtroom paying $50 million dollars or is he going to have to walk out of this courtroom paying $6 million dollars.”

New York Times

Aug. 1, 2022: EXPLAINER: Is Alex Jones’ Trial about Free Speech Rights?

CHICAGO (AP): Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones arrived at a Texas courthouse for his defamation trial for calling the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack a hoax with the words “Save the 1st” scrawled on tape covering his mouth.

Although Jones portrays the lawsuit against him as an assault on the First Amendment, the parents who sued him say his statements were so malicious and obviously false that they fell well outside the bounds of speech protected by the constitutional clause.

AP reporter Michael Tarm talks to Stephen D. Solomon, the founder of First Amendment Watch, for this story.

April 4, 2022: Judge Fines Alex Jones for Failing to Appear for a Deposition in Sandy Hook Defamation Suit

On March 30, a Connecticut judge found Infowars host Alex Jones in contempt of court for failing to appear for a deposition in a defamation suit brought by the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims.

Jones has been sued by several families over his claims that the Sandy Hook shootings were a “giant hoax” and had been staged by the government to undermine the Second Amendment.

Teacher guide on Alex Jones and the Sandy Hook defamation lawsuits 

Judge Barbara Bellis set a fine schedule beginning on April 1st for $25,000 for each workday that Jones fails to show up for his deposition.

On March 31, Jones’s lawyer asked for a stay on the fines, claiming that Jones had a medical condition that prevented him from appearing for the deposition. “Mr. Jones’ doctors thought his conditions were serious enough to require emergency medical care and that they rendered precautionary advice that included a recommendation that he go to the emergency room immediately,” said Jones’ lawyer, Cameron Atkinson.

According to NBC News, the nature of his medical issue wasn’t disclosed, and Jones didn’t go to the hospital for treatment.

Bellis told Atkinson that Jones could request to have his fines refunded after he sits for the deposition.

NBC News

Nov. 15, 2021: Judge Finds Alex Jones Liable by Default in Sandy Hook Elementary Defamation Suit

On Monday, November 15, a superior court judge in Connecticut ruled that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was liable by default in a defamation lawsuit brought by the parents of a Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victim.

Judge Barbara Bellis issued the default judgement after years of Jones’ refusal to turn over financial and web analytics data that had been ordered by the court.

In her ruling, Bellis criticized Jones’ attorney for providing only “sanitized, inaccurate” financial records and showed “callous disregard” for her repeated rulings to provide complete analytics data. She found Jones’ attorneys actions “were not just careful” but constituted “a pattern of obstructive conduct” requiring the most severe sanction of default, what she called a “last resort,” as reported by the Hartford Courant

“Neither the court nor the parties can expect perfection when it comes to the discovery process,” Bellis read to the attorneys from her written ruling. “What is required, however, and what all parties are entitled to, is fundamental fairness that the other side produces information which is within their knowledge, possession and power and that the other side meet its continuing duty to disclose additional and new material.”

A default judgement means that the case will go directly to a jury to decide damages. Last month, a district court judge in Travis County, Texas also issued a default judgment against Jones for failing to comply with discovery requests in two defamation suits brought by the families of two Sandy Hook shooting victims.

Hartford Courant   NY Times

Sept. 27, 2021: Judge Issues Default Judgment In Alex Jones’ Sandy Hook Defamation Suits

A district court judge for Travis County, Texas issued a default judgment against Alex Jones for failing to comply with discovery requests in the defamation suits brought by two families in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. The shooting, which occurred on Dec. 14, 2012, resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six adult school staff members.

“The Court find that Defendants unreasonably and vexatiously failed to comply with their discovery duties. The Court finds that Defendants’ failure to comply with discovery in this case is greatly aggravated by Defendants’ consistent pattern of | discovery abuse throughout the other similar cases pending before this Court,” reads the ruling by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble.

The rulings mean that the suits will proceed to trial to determine how much Jones and his media company, Infowars, will pay the parents for defamation and emotional stress. Jones has repeatedly called the Sandy Hook shootings a “hoax,” and has gone so far as to accuse one of the shooting victim’s parents of being a paid actor rather than a grieving parent.

In her ruling, Gamble noted that she chose to take the rare step of issuing a default judgement against Jones because other sanctions, including paying at least $122,250 for parents’ legal fees, have failed to make Jones comply with the court’s orders.

“However, the Court has more than a sufficient record to conclude that an escalating series of judicial admonishments, monetary penalties, and non-dispositive sanctions have all been ineffective at deterring the abuse. This Court rejects lesser sanctions because they have proven ineffective when previously ordered,” Gamble wrote.

“Furthermore, in considering whether lesser remedies would be effective, this Court has also considered Defendants’ general bad faith approach to litigation, Mr. Jones’ public threats, and Mr. Jones’ professed belief that these proceedings are ‘show trials’,” the judge added.

According to the Austin American Statesman, Jones called the default judgement “stunning.” “Nothing less than the fundamental right to speak freely is at stake in these cases. It is not an overstatement to say the First Amendment was crucified today,” Jones and InfoWars lawyer Norm Pattis wrote on the InfoWars website. “We are distressed by what we regard as a blatant abuse of discretion by the trial court. We are determined to see that these cases are heard on the merits.”

Austin American Statesman  Judgement

April 5, 2021: U.S. Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal from Alex Jones

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected hearing an appeal from Alex Jones on April 5. Jones was appealing a court sanction imposed by Connecticut Trial Court Judge Barbara Bellis after he made alarming comments on his radio show, Infowars, about an attorney for the families of the Sandy Hook victims. The Court announced its decision without a written explanation.

In July 2020, the Connecticut Supreme Court characterized Jones’ comments as an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice,” and therefore the sanctions were not inconsistent with the First Amendment.

The sanctions include a prohibition on Jones filing a motion to dismiss the ongoing defamation lawsuit against him.

Jones’ attorney said that the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court was “a disappointment.”


Associated Press

Jan. 25, 2021: Texas Supreme Court Says Defamation Suits Against Alex Jones Can Continue

On January 22, the Texas Supreme Court rejected conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ request to toss four defamation lawsuits filed by parents whose children died in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The parents filed the suits in Travis County, Texas, where Jones’ and his media company, InfoWars, are based. The suits claim that Jones’ statements calling the mass shooting a “giant hoax,” and accusing the parents of faking their children’s death were defamatory and caused the families emotional distress.

Defamatory statements are one of the few categories of speech that the First Amendment does not protect. For private persons, such as the victims’ parents, to prove that another person’s speech defamed them, they need to show that the defendant’s statements were false and harmful, and that they published them carelessly.

See also: Can First Amendment Defenses Save Provocateur Alex Jones From The Sandy Hook Libel?

In their appeal to the Supreme Court, Jones’ lawyers claimed that his statements were protected under the Texas Citizens Participation Act because he was speaking on a matter of public concern.

“The pursuit of so-called ‘conspiracy theories’ concerning controversial government activities has been a part and parcel of American political discourse since our Founding, and it is protected by the First Amendment,” the lawyers wrote in a brief for one of the lawsuits.

Mark Bankston, the attorney representing the parents, dismissed this notion in a response filed on behalf of Neil Heslin. “[A]ccusing Mr. Heslin of lying about holding the body of his dead son does not amount to a matter of public concern,” Bankston wrote.

The ruling, first reported by the Austin American-Statesman, also gave a fifth plaintiff permission to continue with his defamation lawsuit against InfoWars and reporter Kit Daniels for mistakenly labeling him as a suspect in the 2018 mass shooting at Parkland High School.

July 23, 2020: Connecticut Supreme Court Upholds Sanctions Against Alex Jones

The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld a lower courts’ sanctions against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for threatening the attorney and law firm representing Sandy Hook families in a defamation case against Jones.

“[T]he sanctions did not run afoul of the First Amendment because they addressed speech that was an imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice. Accordingly, it was not an abuse of the trial court’s discretion to sanction the defendants for their discovery violations and Jones’ vituperative speech,” the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on July 23.

In 2019, Jones accused Charles Mattei, and his law firm, Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, of planting images of child pornography on his computer to discredit him. In an angry outburst during a live broadcast, Jones appeared to ask his fans to target Mattei.

“I pray for divine intervention against the powers of Satan. I literally would never have sex with children. I don’t like having sex with children. I would never have sex with children. I am not a Democrat. I am not a liberal. I do not cut children’s genitals off like the left does. And so, if they want war — you know, it’s not a threat. It’s like an AC/DC song. If you want blood, you’ve got it. Blood on the streets, man,” Jones said in a televised broadcast.

On the same broadcast, Jones pounded a picture of Mattei and shouted, “I’m gonna kill … Anyway I’m done. Total war. You want it, you got it.”

The ruling allows the defamation suit to move towards a jury trial in the fall.  

News Times

March 27, 2020: Texas Appeals Court Rejects Alex Jones’ Motion to Dismiss Heslin Defamation Suit

On March 25, the Texas Court of Appeals rejected Infowars founder Alex Jones’ motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by Neil Heslin, whose son was killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The judge has ordered Jones to pay Heslin $22,250 in attorney fees, making the total amount Jones now owes Heslin just under $150,000.

Heslin sued Jones in April 2018 over false statements he made on his site, claiming that the mass shooting in Sandy Hook was a government hoax and the victims’ parents were “crisis actors”. A number of Jones’ readers went on to harass families of Sandy Hook victims, including the Heslins, causing them significant emotional distress.

Jones has tried on multiple occasions to have the lawsuit dismissed on free speech grounds, albeit with little success.

In October 2018, Jones was ordered to pay $25,000 for failing to comply with a discovery order. Then, in December 2019, a Texas district court judge ruled against Jones’ motion to dismiss Heslin’s lawsuit, finding that Heslin had met the standard for defamation under state law. The district judge ordered Jones to pay an additional $100,000 in legal costs to the attorneys representing Heslin.

In his opinion, Judge Scott H. Jenkins affirmed the district court’s denial of Jones’ motion to dismiss.

“We affirm the district court’s dismissal of Appellants’ motion to dismiss, and we grant Heslin’s motion for sanctions and award him $22,250 for attorney’s fees,” Jenkins opinion reads.

Huffington Post Opinion

Dec. 20, 2019: Alex Jones Ordered to Pay $100,000 in Legal Fees in Defamation Lawsuit

On December 20th, a Texas district court judge ordered Alex Jones to pay more than $100,000 in legal fees in a defamation suit brought by the father of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

The defamation suit brought by Neil Heslin is one of several suits filed against Jones by the families who lost children in the school shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. Following the massacre, Jones repeatedly stated on his website, Infowars, that the shooting was a hoax and had been staged by the U.S. government in an attempt to confiscate Americans’ guns.

The order by Travis County District Judge Scott Jenkins comes after Jones ignored a court order to provide documents and witnesses. Jenkins also ruled against a motion from Jones’s attorneys to dismiss the suit, adding additional legal fees that brought the amount that Jones has had to pay to $126,024.  (Jones was ordered to pay $25,875 last October for failing to comply with another ruling.) A trial date for the Heslin case has not yet been scheduled.

In an email to the Daily Beast, Heslin’s lawyer, Mark Bankston, said that the suit could have been avoided if Jones had accepted responsibility for his lies and his harassment of Heslin and other Sandy Hook parents. “Instead, Mr. Jones seems to prefer exiting into the dustbin of history in the most expensive and embarrassing way possible,” Bankston wrote.

Daily Beast  Hartford Courant  CNN

Dec. 12, 2019: Lawyer files motion in Heslin v Jones case to hold Jones and Infowars liable without trial

Mark Bankston, the attorney representing Neil Heslin in his defamation lawsuit against Alex Jones, filed a motion on December 12th, 2019 asking that the judge hold Jones and Infowars liable without trial.

In his motion, Bankston argues that the defendants committed “willful and flagrant discovery abuse.” This behavior allegedly includes refusing to make good faith efforts to answer written discovery or respond at deposition, withholding tens of thousands of emails relating to Sandy Hook, and erasing many of the computers prior to collection efforts.

“Defendants have been given ample opportunity to take these lawsuits seriously and obey the rule of law,” the filing said. “Yet despite a rotating cast of counsel, Defendants have remained stubborn in their refusal to respect the integrity of the proceedings.”

The jury wouldn’t decide whether Jones’ was guilty, it would only be used to determine the amount of damages Jones. The motion is scheduled to be heard by the court on Wednesday, December 18th.

The Hill

July 10, 2019: Connecticut Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Alex Jones’ Appeal to Review Trial Court’s Sanctions

The Connecticut Supreme Court has agreed to review Alex Jones appeal regarding sanctions imposed by a trial court judge over alleged threats to lawyers in Sandy Hook case.

On June 17, 2019, trial Court Judge Barbara Bellis denied Jone’s lawyers requests to pursue a special motion to dismiss the lawsuit by the Sandy Hook families. She also ordered Jones to pay for all legal fees associated with an incident that occurred during the discovery process when dozens of emails from Jones and Infowars were found to contain child pornography. An investigation cleared Jones of any wrongdoing, and revealed that none of the emails had ever been opened.

In his 10-page appeal to the Supreme Court, Jones’ lawyer, Norm Pattis, argues that the penalties imposed on his client are too harsh, and threaten his First Amendment rights to speak on a matter of public interest.

According to the Hartford Courant, the Connecticut Supreme Court will now hold “a full hearing on Pattis’ appeal” in which they “could overturn Bellis’ ruling” and “restore Jones’ right to possibly have the case dismissed.”

The hearing will likely take place in September.

Hartford Courant

June 24, 2019: Alex Jones Hit With Sanctions, His Attorney Requests Connecticut Supreme Court to Review

The lawyer defending Alex Jones in the defamation suit brought the parents of some of the Sandy Hook victims has asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to review sanctions imposed on Jones by a trial judge.

On June 18, Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis imposed the sanctions during an emergency hearing after Jones threatened the Sandy Hook families’ attorney, Christopher Mattei, on Jones’ webcast.

Jones’ rant was triggered by a recent revelation that a dozen emails retrieved from him and his Infowars website during the discovery process had images of child pornography attached. The FBI investigated, and determined that they were sent to Jones from outside of his organization, and no one ever opened the files to view the images.

On his televised webcast, however, Jones accused Mattei and his law firm, Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, of planting the images, and made threatening comments towards Mattei and his firm.

Norm Pattis, Jones’ lawyer, is arguing that his client was only exercising his First Amendment right to speak on a matter of public interest.

Hartford Courant

May 2, 2019: Alex Jones and InfoWars Banned on Facebook

Facebook is banning some controversial, well-known figures for violating the social media giant’s policies on hate speech and promoting violence.

The list includes Sandy Hook-denier Alex Jones, right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, conspiracy theorists Laura Loomer and Paul John Watson, Louis Farrakhan, who promotes anti-Semitic views, and Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist who ran for Congress in 2018.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a Facebook representative said Thursday in a statement. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today.”

The ban includes their individual Facebook accounts, fan pages, and groups affiliated with them. These individuals are also banned from Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook.

Jones, who has spread his conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school mass shooting on his InfoWars site, was temporarily banned on Facebook last year. His official fan page was also banned, but Jones was allowed to keep his personal account.

The new prohibition makes all of Jones’ temporary bans permanent, bans Jones from having a personal Facebook account, and extends more broadly to fan pages and videos that promote InfoWars.

According to Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters, nonprofit that monitors conservative misinformation online, says that recent mass shootings and other acts of violence caused by online hate speech prompted Facebook to finally take action.

“The reality is, people are getting killed. There are mass shootings and mass murders that are clearly being connected to ideas like white genocide, which are fueling radicalization,” Carusone told The Washington Post. “The conditions have changed. When you have these massive catalyzing moments that are connected to real-life consequences, it puts pressure on Facebook and others to look in the mirror.”

Facebook isn’t the first social media platform to ban some of these polarizing figures. In recent years, Twitter has temporarily or permanently banned Jones, Loomer, Nehlen, and Yiannopoulos for their inflammatory content.

Los Angeles Times The Washington Post

April 1, 2019: Under Oath, Jones Admitted His Opinion Was Wrong But Blamed “Psychosis”

During a three-hour long taped deposition as part of a defamation case brought by some of the families of the Sandy Hook victims, Alex Jones claimed he had a “form of psychosis” that caused him to question whether certain events like the Sandy Hook mass shootings were staged.

“And I, myself, have almost had like a form of psychosis back in the past where I basically thought everything was staged, even though I’m now learning a lot of times things aren’t staged,” Jones said in a video released by Kaster Lynch Farrar & Ball LLP, a Texas law firm representing some of the families.

Jones blamed the “the media” for leading him to distrust everything.

“So long before these lawsuits I said that in the past I thought everything was a conspiracy and I would kind of get into that mass group think of the communities that were out saying that,” he said. “And so now I see that it’s more in the middle… so that’s where I stand.”

Jones also acknowledged that some of his reporting was based off of Internet sources like YouTube and 4Chan.

Regardless, Jones would not admit that his conspiratorial claims caused the families pain, and described the lawsuits as an attack on him and on the First Amendment.

“I was stating that I was reporting on the general questioning when others were questioning. And, you know, it’s painful that we have to question big public events. I think that’s an essential part of the First Amendment in America. And I do not take responsibility for the entire train of things that lawyers and the media have said I’ve done.”

CNN NBC Deposition Videos

Feb. 7, 2019: Judges Have Advanced The Cases In Favor Of The Sandy Hook Families In The Past Few Weeks

The New York Times reports on a series of legal victories in favor of the Sandy Hook families in three lawsuits against Alex Jones and Infowars.

In Texas, a judge ordered Jones and Infowars representatives to submit to questioning by the lawyers of one Sandy Hook mother, and also granted access to the company’s business records against the wishes of Jones’ lawyers, who wanted them to remain sealed.

In Connecticut, a judge ordered Infowars’ business associates and partners to testify, and will soon rule on the deposition of Jones himself and other Infowars associates, as per the families’ request.

The New York Times

Jan. 11, 2019: CT Superior Court Judge Grants Sandy Hook Families’ Discovery Request To Access Infowars’ Internal Documents And Communications

The six families suing Alex Jones and Infowars in Connecticut over repeated defamatory comments about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre were granted a legal victory in their case. The judge ruled that the families can gain access to Infowars’ financial and marketing documents, contracts between Infowars and platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and any communications including letters, emails, and text messages related to Sandy Hook, Adam Lanza, crisis actors, or mass shootings. According to an attorney for the families, this documentation is meant to corroborate the claims made in the lawsuit to prove that Alex Jones is a “conspiracy profiteer.” The judge will decide whether to let the plaintiffs’ legal team depose Jones at a hearing scheduled for this week.

The New York Times ABC News Hartford Courant

Aug. 17, 2018: Motion Accuses Jones Of Intentionally Destroying Evidence Related to Suits

Lawyers representing the families of two Sandy Hook shooting victims accused Alex Jones of intentionally destroying evidence related to the lawsuit. According to the motion filed, Jones said on his broadcast that he instructed his staffers to delete select content like social media messages and videos, some of which was considered evidence in the Sandy Hook case.

The New York Times Motion

Aug. 1, 2018: First Of 3 Defamation Suits Against Jones Reaches Courtroom

Lawyers for Alex Jones are fighting to dismiss a defamation case brought against him and his site Infowars by parents of victims of the Sandy Hook shooting under the Texas Citizens Participation Act. His attorneys are arguing that what Jones says on his show is not fact, but rather his opinion. According to Reuters, an attorney for Jones told the judge, “Maybe it’s fringe speech. Maybe it’s dangerous speech, but it is not defamation.”

The judge has 30 days to rule on a motion to dismiss the case.

The New York Times Reuters Buzzfeed News

July 24, 2018: Alex Jones Compares Himself To Storied Watergate Journalists In Effort To Dismiss Lawsuit

In an attempt to dismiss a defamation lawsuit, Alex Jones of Infowars compared himself to Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, The Washington Post journalists who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, saying he acted like a journalist when he questioned the narrative of the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.

Lawyers for Jones wrote in his filing for dismissal: “Such journalism, questioning official narratives, would be chilled if reporters were subject to liability if they turned out to be wrong….To stifle the press (by making them liable for merely interviewing people who have strange theories) will simply turn this human tragedy into a Constitutional one.”

Bill Bloss, an attorney for the families said in many news reports that, “The First Amendment simply does not protect false statements about the parents of one of the worst tragedies in our nation’s history. Any effort by any of the defendants to avoid responsibility for the harm that they have inflicted will be unsuccessful.”

CBS News The Associated Press Motion to Dismiss

May 24, 2018: More Sandy Hook Families File Defamation Lawsuit Against Alex Jones For False Stories Promoted on Infowars

Six families of Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent filed a third lawsuit Wednesday against Alex Jones and his businesses for repeated claims he made on his Infowars show that the 2012 massacre was a hoax. The families are suing on defamation, invasion of privacy by false light, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The suit, filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, comes after two other suits that were filed last month in Texas by two other Sandy Hook victim families. The complaints from all eight families allege that Jones used his internet and radio platforms to push the conspiracy theory that the shooting in Newtown was a staged event. It lists a campaign of abuse starting from December 19, 2012 through June 26, 2017. On a complaint listed for January 13, 2015, the parents allege that during the broadcast of The Alex Jones Radio Show, Jones said, “…Sandy Hook is a synthetic completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I though they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors.” The complaint says that “a reasonable person would understand these statements to assert that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged, and that the plaintiffs fabricated the deaths of their loved ones.”

The lawsuit claims that while Jones’ false accusation brought him attention and business, the plaintiffs suffered personal pain and abuse from the radio and internet personality and his fans.

The New York Times reporter Elizabeth Williamson writes that Jones claims First Amendment protection for his work and that the most recent lawsuit filed challenges that defense. “The First Amendment has never protected demonstrably false, malicious statements like the defendants’,” it reads.

New York Times The Daily by The New York Times NBC News

Connecticut Law Tribune

April 17, 2018: Sandy Hook Parents Take on False Stories Promoted by Alex Jones in Defamation Suit

The 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre which killed 20 children and 6 adults galvanized parents and relatives of those murdered to promote gun reform. One conservative commentator who responded negatively to their efforts: Alex Jones and his Infowars which ran segments claiming the massacre at Sandy Hook was “a giant hoax.” Jones’ followers have continued to harass Sandy Hook families. Now Leonard Pozner and his former wife, Veronique De La Rosa, parents of Noah Pozner, and Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, have responded by filing two defamation suits against Alex Jones stating “defendants’ defamatory statements were knowingly false or made with reckless disregard for the truth.” They are seeking at least $1 million in damages. This is the second time this year Alex Jones has been sued for defamation. In March, Brennan Gilmore sued Jones for stories that led to threats against him.

New York Times Reuters TV Reuters

Analysis & Opinion

Feb. 5, 2020: The Professor of Denial 

Amanda J. Crawford writes about James H. Fetzer, a retired philosophy professor who has promoted conspiracy theories since the 1990s. Among the theories he has promoted are that the Apollo moon landing was fake and that the Holocaust where 11 million Jews and others were killed, never occurred.

In 2015, Fetzer published a book Sandy Hook: It Was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control, and began a movement of Sandy Hook “truthers.” Though it was Alex Jones who, using Infowars, helped the lies spread more quickly, much of the theory itself was invented by Fetzer. In October 2019, a Wisconsin jury awarded Leonard Pozner $450,000 for accusing him of falsifying his son’s death certificate. Pozner’s son, Noah Pozner, was 6-year-old when he was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Unlike Jones, Fetzer says he still believes that the massacre was staged.

Dec. 5, 2019: I worked for Alex Jones. I Regret It. 

 Josh Ownes, a former writer for Infowars, gives a close-up view of what it was like to work with Alex Jones. Lured by Jones’ combative personality, Owen’s account may help explain why so many are attracted to Jones ‘ style of broadcasting.

“He railed against government corruption and secrecy, the militarization of police. He confronted those in power, traipsed through the California redwoods to expose the secretive all-male meeting of elites at Bohemian Grove and even appeared in two Richard Linklater films as himself, screaming into a megaphone.”

But once he began working with Jones, Owens learned how many of the stories were made up and used to exploit the “prejudices and fears” of Jones’s audiences.

July 8, 2019: Newton Parents Fight Back

Susan Svrluga writes in The Washington Post about the parents of Newtown and their experience battling conspiracy theorists in court. Using a number of interviews with the parents, she highlights the psychological and emotional toll of “unimpeded conspiracy theories” as well as the way in which social media enables their quick spread.

“Story by story, site by site, year after year,” Svrluga writes,” Pozner has been working to restore the truth about his son.”

March 31, 2019: Legal System Will Force Jones To Tell The Truth

Charlie Warzel writes in the New York Times that the deposition of Alex Jones in one of the defamation lawsuits he is faced with “highlights a troubling reality: The legal system may be the only way to defang a well-known conspiracy theorist at the height of his powers.”

Aug. 6, 2018: Alex Jones Lawsuit Will Change The Way We Think About Free Speech On The Internet

Emma Grey Ellis asserts in Wired that the legal questions of free speech on the internet brought up in the defamation cases against Alex Jones will have formative implications. Are the victims’ parents public figures? Is what Alex Jones says the truth, or is it trolling? Is Infowars a media institution? “This push and pull between internet and legal norms is a good thing—as long as it continues to evolve,” she writes. “That’s important is we learn to negotiate the balance between speaking safely, and freely, on the web.”

July 24, 2018: Are There Actual Constitutional Concerns In Jones’ Lawsuit?

Charles P. Pierce writes in Esquire that the case contains may test the constitutional limits of talk radio, punditry, and extreme internet broadcasting. He also makes note of the other fringe figures that have been represented by Jones’ legal team in the past.

Documents & Resources

Pozner v. Jones: Lawsuit against Alex Jones and Infowars and others by Sandy Hook shooting victim Noah Pozner’s parents Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa in Texas.

Pozner Complaint Alex Jones Motion to Dismiss

Lafferty v. Jones: Lawsuit against Alex Jones and Infowars and others by six families of Sandy Hook shooting victims in Connecticut.

Complaint Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint

Heslin v. Jones: Lawsuit against Alex Jones and Infowars and others by father of Sandy Hook shooting victim Neil Heslin in Texas.


Sherlach v. Jones: Lawsuit against Alex Jones and Infowars and others by husband of Sandy Hook shooting victim William Sherlach spouse of Mary Sherlach in Connecticut.


Allegations made by Alex Jones and Infowars that created the foundation for the complaints detailed in the lawsuit.

Below are a select few instances in which Jones and Infowars contributors made claims to support the Sandy Hook shooting conspiracy theory on broadcasts and in published articles over the course of many years.

In 2013, Jones called the shooting “staged” and said, “It’s got inside job written all over it.”

In March 2014, Alex Jones began stating his allegation regarding a “fake” interview between Anderson Cooper and Noah Pozner’s mother, Veronique De La Rosa. The allegation that the interview took place in front of a “blue screen” became central to Jones’ assertion that the Sandy Hook school shooting was manipulated by the government and performed by crisis actors.

“Folks, we’ve got video of Anderson Cooper with clear blue-screen out there. [Shaking head]. He’s not there in the town square. We got people clearly coming up and laughing and then doing the fake crying. We’ve clearly got people where it’s actors playing different parts for different people, the building bulldozed, covering up everything. Adam Lanza trying to get guns five times we’re told. The witnesses not saying it was him…I’ve looked at it and undoubtedly, there’s a cover-up, there’s actors, they’re manipulating, they’ve been caught lying, and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it.”

In May 2014, InfoWars published an article titled: “CONNECTICUT TRIES TO HIDE SANDY HOOK TRUTH.”

In September 2014, Infowars published an article titled: “FBI SAYS NO ONE KILLED AT SANDY HOOK.”

“The whole thing is a giant hoax. How do you deal with a total hoax? It took me about a year, with Sandy Hook, to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake. I did deep Research.” (December 2014)

“The general public doesn’t know the school was actually closed the year before. They don’t know they’ve sealed it all, demolished the building. They don’t know that they had the kids going in circles in and out of the building as a photo-op. Blue-screen, green-screens, they got caught using.” (December 2014)

“You learn the school had been closed and re-opened. And you’ve got video of the kids going in circles, in and out of the building, and they don’t call the rescue choppers for two hours, and then they tear the building down, and seal it. And they get caught using blue-screens, and an email by Bloomberg comes out in a lawsuit, where he’s telling his people get ready in the next 24 hours to capitalize on a shooting. Yeah, so Sandy Hook is a synthetic, completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there, clearly, but I thought they killed some real kids. And it just shows how bold they are that they clearly used actors. I mean they even ended up using photos of kids killed in mass shootings here in a fake mass shooting in Turkey, or Pakistan. The sky is now the limit.” (January 2015)