WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones will be getting back the $75,000 in fines he paid to a Connecticut court for failing to appear at a deposition last month in a lawsuit over his assertions that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, a judge has ruled.
Relatives of some of the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, massacre sued Jones for defamation, saying they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from Jones’ followers. A judge found Jones liable for damages, and a trial on how much he should pay the families is set for August.
Judge Barbara Bellis in Waterbury ordered the return of the money Thursday, because Jones eventually did show at a rescheduled deposition last week. The fines, which escalated daily, were aimed at making sure Jones did appear for questioning.
Jones said he missed the March 23 and 24 deposition in Austin, Texas — home to Jones and Infowars — because of a medical problem that included vertigo. He said his doctors first thought it was a serious heart issue, but it later turned out to be a sinus infection. Bellis said there wasn’t enough evidence Jones was too ill to attend the deposition.
Jones paid a $25,000 daily fine for April 1 and another $50,000 daily fine for April 4. He then attended a deposition in Bridgeport on April 5 and 6.
A lawyer for the Sandy Hook families declined to comment Friday. A message was left for Jones’ attorney.
Jones was also found liable for damages in similar defamation lawsuits by victims’ relatives in Texas, where a trial is set to start later this month. Jones has since said he believes the shooting did occur.