Alex Jones and his website Infowars made repeated claims that the 2012 murder of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was a “giant hoax,” possibly instigating a number of his followers to harass the families of the victims. Does the First Amendment protect Alex Jones’ speech?
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 December 14, 2012.
A Wisconsin judge ruled that the co-editors of a book that claimed that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax were guilty of defamation. Following the December 2012 mass shooting, James Fetzer and Michael Palecek published a book, “Nobody Died At Sandy Hook: It was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control,” claiming that the federal agency had staged the event to promote gun control. The book also claimed the Leonard Pozner, the father of the youngest Sandy Hook victim, was complicit in the conspiracy, and had fabricated his son’s death certificate.
The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment experts, Gene Policinski and Lata Nott, originally published this commentary on the Newseum blog, and […]