Alex Jones juror breaks silence on tense deliberations in Sandy Hook case

·2 min read

Jurors in Alex Jones' defamation trial reportedly sparred over how much money the conspiracy theorist television host should pay to the families of Sandy Hook victims.

According to one juror, who spoke with Reuters, sums discussed for Jones' penalty ranged between $500,000 to $200m.

"We saw those numbers on the board and someone said, 'Well, I guess we're never leaving this room,'" Sharon, the juror who spoke with Reuters, said.

She asked Reuters to withhold her last name over fears that Jones' fans would harass her.

In September, a judge ruled that Jones defamed and caused intentional emotional distress to the families of Sandy Hook victims. The jury Sharon sat on was tasked with determining the extent of the damages Jones had to pay.

Jones' legal troubles are rooted in claims he made following the Sandy Hook shooting that the tragedy was actually a "hoax" carried out by the government to try to justify gun confiscations. He further insinuated that the victims' families were complicit in the scheme.

Some of Jones' fans bought the lie and proceeded to harass the families, who — on top of having to bury a child — then had to deal with angry strangers calling them liars and making death threats.

The most recent case was brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse was killed in the shooting.Their lawyers asked that Jones be made to pay $150m in damages.

Jones will also have to pay damages in two other Sandy Hook-related lawsuits that he lost.

Jurors reportedly debated the evidence of the case for nearly seven hours inside the Austin courthouse where the hearings played out. Sharon told Reuters she was too nervous to eat the food provided to the jurors.

According to Sharon, before the jurors could arrive at a number, they first debated whether compensatory damages were even warranted, with some arguing that a dollar amount could not be connected to concepts like "emotional suffering."

"We all believed that Neil and Scarlett were credible," she said. "There just weren't tangible things behind their mental anguish, and we were asked to award between $1 and $150 million without any guidance."

Ultimately, Jones' attorney, Federico Andino Reynal, said he was "pleased" that the jurors did not default to the plantiffs' lawyers' suggested damages, but still felt the number they reached was too high.

The jurors had to decide how much money the parents would be paid, and then how much money Jones and his show, Infowars, would pay as a penalty.

They eventually landed on $4.1m in compensatory damages for the parents, and $42.2m in punitive damages.

The jurors reached the second number by targetting 10 per cent of Jones' net worth per parent. Jurors heard during the hearing that Jones is worth between $130m and $270m, which guided their decision.