Parents of two children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School attacks filed defamation lawsuits on Monday against right-wing conspiracy theorist and radio show host Alex Jones, who has questioned the authenticity of the 2012 shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 children.
Leonard Pozner and his former wife, Veronique De La Rosa, parents of Noah Pozner, and Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, are seeking more than $1 million in damages in separate lawsuits.
The two defamation cases were filed in Austin, Texas, where Jones lives and has espoused claims that the massacre was “a giant hoax” and “that the whole thing was fake” — staged by the federal government, which hired professional actors for the purposes of undermining Second Amendment rights.
“This conspiracy theory, which has been pushed by InfoWars and Mr. Jones since the day of the shooting, alleges that the Sandy Hook massacre did not happen, or that it was staged by the government and concealed using actors, and that the parents of the victims are participants in a horrifying cover-up,” the plaintiffs said in their suits.
Both boys were among 20 first-grade students killed inside the school in Newtown, Conn.
Days after the shooting, Noah’s mother told NPR the 6-year-old boy “was a ball of fire, energy, unrestrainable — love, light, everything, the essence of life.”
Jones did not respond to NPR’s request for comment.
The New York Times reported the lawsuits “represent the first civil action taken by parents accusing Mr. Jones of defamation.”
The lawsuits chronicle a number of articles published on InfoWars.com as well as broadcasts hosted by Jones, wherein he is sometimes joined by reporter Owen Shroyer or an unnamed producer, in which the plaintiffs say he waged a “years-long campaign to convince their audience that Sandy Hook was faked and that the parents are lying.”
In the case pertaining to Pozner and De La Rosa, the court documents point to an episode of The Alex Jones Show called Sandy Hook Vampires Exposed, in which Jones alleged CNN used a series of green screens in its coverage of the aftermath of the shooting. As evidence, Jones claimed footage of CNN host Anderson Cooper contained several glitches because of a poorly placed green screen.
However, the lawsuit explains the reason for the video anomalies: “The visual effect described by Mr. Jones is the result of motion compensation video compression.”
Heslin’s lawsuit notes the case “arises out of accusation by InfoWars in the summer of 2017 that Plaintiff was lying about whether he actually held his son’s body and observed a bullet hole in his head. This heartless and vile act of defamation re-ignited the Sandy Hook ‘false flag’ conspiracy and tore open the emotional wounds that Plaintiff has tried so desperately to heal.”
The families filing the suits also say Jones’ allegations led some of his listeners to make death threats against the victims’ families.
Both lawsuits detail the case of Lucy Richards, a Florida woman who was sentenced to five months in prison for threatening Pozner. The judge in the case also ruled Richards would “not be permitted to access a list of conspiracy-based websites upon her release, including InfoWars. … Ms. Richards’ arrest and sentencing are an ominous reminder of the danger posed by Mr. Jones’ continuing lies about the Plaintiffs’ alleged role in faking Sandy Hook.”
The lawsuits contend the defendants acted with malice and their defamatory publications have injured the plaintiffs’ reputation and image and that they have exposed them to “public and private hatred, contempt, and ridicule.”
As NPR reported, Jones is embroiled in another lawsuit, filed by a former foreign service officer who says he received death threats from Jones-inspired conspiracy theorists after sharing a video of a woman being struck by a car during last year’s Charlottesville, Va., protests.