Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was found legally responsible in two lawsuits for damages resulting from his claims about the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, according to court documents released Thursday.
A judge issued default judgments Monday against Jones and his right-wing website Infowars for failing to comply with orders to provide information for the lawsuits brought by parents of two children killed in the shooting, according to CNN. The rulings effectively mean that Jones lost the cases by default, CNN noted. A jury will decide how much he will owe the plaintiffs.
Mark Bankston, an attorney for the parents, told CNN that the rulings will provide his clients with "the closure they deserve."
"Mr. Jones was given ample opportunity to take these lawsuits seriously and obey the rule of law," Bankston told the news outlet. "He chose not to do so, and now he will face the consequences for that decision."
Jones and Infowars attorney Norm Pattis put out a statement Thursday slamming the judge's decision.
"The trial court’s entry of a default in these cases is stunning," the statement said. "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."
"We are distressed by what we regard as a blatant abuse of discretion by the trial court," the statement continued. "We are determined to see that these cases are heard on the merits."
Jones has erroneously claimed that the shooting at Sandy Hook was a hoax carried out by crisis actors and planned by opponents of the Second Amendment. Several families of the victims sued Jones for defamation in courts in Texas and Connecticut, where the shooting took place, CNN noted.
"The Court finds that Defendants' failure to comply ... is greatly aggravated by [their] consistent pattern of discovery abuse throughout similar cases pending before this Court," the Texas judge wrote in one of her rulings against Jones, according to CNN. "The Court finds that Defendants' discovery conduct in this case is the result of flagrant bad faith and callous disregard for the responsibilities of discovery under the rules."
Jones acknowledged during a sworn deposition in 2019 that the shooting was real and claimed that "a form of psychosis" made him question whether the event was staged when it occurred in 2012.