Alex Jones Is Liable for Damages After False Claims that Sandy Hook Shooting Was Hoax, Judge Rules

"They feel relieved," Bill Ogden, an attorney for the parents, tells PEOPLE. “It is a bit of closure finally to be able to say, 'What you did was wrong'"

Alex Jones
Alex Jones. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Alex Jones, the peddler of baseless, far-right conspiracy theories, was found liable for damages in three lawsuits surrounding his false claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook mass school shooting was a hoax.

The founder of Infowars was sued by the parents of two children killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 people, including 20 children, were killed by a gunman. He was found liable after he failed to comply with the judge's order to hand over documents for discovery.

"They feel relieved," Bill Ogden, an attorney for the parents, tells PEOPLE. "It is a bit of closure finally to be able to say, 'What you did was wrong.' And what you did was defame my character. For years my clients had to relive the one experience no parent should ever have to live in the first place. On top of that they were called liars."

In Judge Maya Guerra Gamble's ruling, which was obtained by PEOPLE, she wrote that Jones' "discovery conduct in this case has shown flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules."

A jury will decide how much he should pay in damages.

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The scene outside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. Shannon Hicks/Newtown Bee/ZUM

After the shooting, Jones took to his popular web talk show on, which has trafficked in various fictitious conspiracy theories, to spread baseless and inflammatory statements about the massacre.

Calling the mass shooting "a giant hoax," he told the millions who watch his show and visit his site that it was a "false flag" operation staged by crisis actors posing as grieving parents to strengthen gun control laws.

The lawsuits were filed in April 2018 in Texas, where Jones and the site are based, by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed in the shooting, as well as Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, who lost their 6-year-old son Noah Pozner.

Jones and his attorneys had maintained that his comments are protected by the First Amendment.

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In March 2019, he said in videotaped depositions for the case that he now believes the shooting did take place and that his conspiracy theories about the massacre were caused by "psychosis," the Washington Post reported.

"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," he said.

Referencing the judge's Monday ruling, Jones and his attorney Norm Pattis wrote on the Infowars website that the judge's entry of a default judgment was "stunning."

"It takes no account of the tens of thousands of documents produced by the defendants, the hours spent sitting for depositions and the various sworn statements filed in these cases," the statement reads. "We are determined to see that these cases are heard on the merits. Nothing less than the fundamental right to speak freely is at stake in these cases. It is not overstatement to say the first amendment was crucified today."

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