Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

No matter what your opinions are of Alex Jones, yesterday’s jury verdict in Connecticut to pay $965 million in damages to Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent for calling the mass shooting a “hoax” a decade ago, should shock you in terms of the status of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States that protects freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.

I have been a journalist in the Alternative Media for over a decade, and have faced numerous threats and accusations of defamation and other charges over the content of the articles we publish at Health Impact News, especially in our Medical Kidnapping category. It has forced me to retain some of the top 1st Amendment attorneys in the nation, so this is a topic I have quite a bit of experience in.

While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech for the Press, one cannot print (or broadcast) lies that cause harm to the entity being criticized.

Prior to this jury’s verdict yesterday, the largest defamation case in U.S. history was a case in 1997 where a federal jury in Houston awarded $222.7 million to a local bond brokerage firm in a libel suit over a 1993 article in The Wall Street Journal. (Source.)

The brokerage firm, MMAR Group Inc., contended in its suit that the article made false statements that drove away its clients, causing the firm to close within a month of the article’s appearance. The jury set $200 million in punitive damages and $22.7 million in compensation against Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal. (Source.)

This jury verdict in Connecticut, therefore, is unprecedented in U.S. law, and exceeds the 1997 case against the Wall Street Journal by over $750 million. While the plaintiff in the WSJ case claims to have lost clients and their business, something that can be assessed a monetary value to, what exactly did the alleged victims in the Sandy Hook families lose, that warranted such an enormous amount of money?

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted:

The damage Alex Jones has done to the lives of these families is horrific—nearly a billion dollars doesn’t solve their pain-but also true that the end of infowars would be a public service.

Really? The verdict was not even enough because of the “pain” of these families?

I have not followed this case, but what evidence of “pain” caused by Alex Jones was provided in discovery to justify such a large monetary award? And since Alex Jones was not the one who killed their family members, how did they distinguish this “pain” from the pain they suffered from seeing their family members murdered by Adam Lanza?

Jen Psaki has a history of trampling over the First Amendment.

In July of 2021, while still serving as the Press Secretary of President Biden, she admitted that the White House was telling Facebook to censor any information that they did not like about COVID-19, another clear violation of the First Amendment. (Source.)

Listen America, if we want to hold on and value our right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, we MUST put aside partisan politics, and allow those we disagree with to voice their opinions, no matter how offensive we find it. Many men and women have died to protect these rights, and this is a non-partisan issue.

When Donald Trump was President, he too showed a callous disregard for the First Amendment, and even tried to get Congress to pass a law criminalizing anyone who dared to burn the American Flag, a form of Free Speech that the Supreme Court has actually already ruled on. See:

Trump calls for Congress to take action against ‘lowlifes’ who burn American flag

Trump also tried to force some of the major sports leagues to force athletes, primarily Black athletes, from taking a knee during the National Anthem, which again is a clear violation of the First Amendment.

I don’t own any American flags that could be burned, but I have been very open about my opposition over “Pledging Allegiance” to the U.S. flag, which for me is idolatry and goes against the Bible and the Ten Commandments. See:

Nationalism and the Ten Commandments – Patriotism or Idolatry? “Liberty” or Slavery?

Should my views be criminalized because I don’t agree with the political and religious Right and their views of “patriotism”?

The dangers to the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech are quite clearly a non-partisan issue, as both sides of the political spectrum want to censor the other side they don’t agree with.

Where will this end, especially if this $BILLION jury verdict in Connecticut is upheld on appeal?

Alex Jones Ordered to Pay Nearly $1 Billion in Connecticut Sandy Hook ‘Show Trial’

by Chris Menahan
Information Liberation


Famed radio talk show host Alex Jones on Wednesday was ordered by a Connecticut jury to pay an astronomical $965 million in damages to Sandy Hook families and an FBI agent for calling the mass shooting a “hoax” a decade ago.

Just as in the first trial, the judge sidestepped the First Amendment and declared Jones guilty before the jury trial by claiming he failed to comply with discovery. The jury was only allowed to decide how much damages Jones owes, not whether his speech was protected by the First Amendment.

It’s important to note that these lawsuits were not filed in 2012, 2013, or 2014, but in 2018 — because special interest groups saw this as an opportunity to take down Jones for helping Trump win the presidency in 2016.

If Hillary Clinton had won, none of this would be happening.

From RT, “Alex Jones ordered to pay nearly $1 billion”:

Controversial radio host Alex Jones has been ordered by a Connecticut jury to pay $965 million in damages to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims for suggesting that the December 2012 massacre was staged.

The six-member Connecticut Superior Court jury announced its verdict on Wednesday after three days of deliberations. The payouts were ordered to the families of eight children who were killed in the shooting, as well as to an emergency worker who claimed he was defamed. The largest damage award was to one of the parents, Robbie Parker, whom Jones was ordered to pay $60 million for defamation and $60 million for emotional distress.

Jones, founder of Infowars, accused Parker of being a crisis actor after he was shown on video briefly smiling at a press conference before speaking about the death of his 6-year-old daughter. He and other family members of the deceased children testified that they had been harassed and threatened by Infowars listeners because of the claims that Jones made. For instance, Mark and Jackie Barden said people urinated on their son’s grave and threatened to dig it up to prove that he wasn’t killed.

The shooting left 20 children and six teachers dead. The Connecticut case is one of four defamation lawsuits that were filed against Jones by Sandy Hook families. In August, a Texas jury ordered him to pay $49 million in damages to the parents of another one of the shooting victims.

Jones, who didn’t attend court for Wednesday’s verdict announcement, testified last month that he “legitimately thought” the shooting might have been staged but had later concluded that it was real. As a lawyer for the plaintiffs scolded him for failing to show respect to the victims’ families, he said, “Is this a struggle session? Are we in China? I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times, and I’m done saying I’m sorry.”

Jones said on his radio show Wednesday that he will appeal the verdict and that his company’s bankruptcy filing will protect Infowars while the case is still pending. He has portrayed the lawsuits against him as an attack on the constitutional right to free speech.

Former Biden press secretary Jen Psaki celebrated the verdict on Twitter, claiming “the end of infowars would be a public service.”

In contrast, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene boldly stood up in Jones’ defense.

Jones received a huge amount of support on social media.

If Jones were to pay these judgements in full, he’d be on the hook for over $1 billion already and still has one more Sandy Hook trial to go in Austin. He’s not going to pay out anywhere near that because he doesn’t have the money and his company, Free Speech Systems, has already filed for bankruptcy.

From Newsweek:

Victim’s rights attorney Lisa Bloom told Newsweek that she was “delighted” about the “enormous verdict against Alex Jones,” while cautioning that collecting the money from him could be “very difficult.”

“It is very difficult to collect on judgments, especially against individuals like this who often hide their assets behind shell corporations,” Bloom said. “I’ve been trying to collect on a large judgment against another odious wealthy man for several years. It is expensive, time-consuming and frustrating.”

“In addition, Jones may declare bankruptcy,” she continued. “In our system, sadly, many defendants like Jones cleverly avoid payment for years or forever.”

Free Speech Systems has already filed for bankruptcy. While Jones may also attempt to declare personal bankruptcy, he will not be able to avoid paying the judgment entirely since bankruptcies do not discharge debts from punitive judgements. However, $965 million awarded on Wednesday was entirely for compensatory damages, which could potentially be discharged.

Still, punitive damages have yet to be decided in Connecticut and are likely to be significant. In the Texas trial, Jones was ordered to pay $4 million in compensatory damages and $45.2 million in punitive damages, although the damages could be reduced due to state limits.

[…] Los Angeles entertainment attorney Tre Lovell said in a statement obtained by Newsweek that “not all outcomes look bleak for Jones.”

“If he has the judgment discharged in bankruptcy, but uses the trial publicity to gin up his base and increase his fundraising, he could build back his coffers without the financial burden of a judgment looming over his head,” Lovell said.

Immediately following Wednesday’s verdict, Jones did appeal to his Infowars audience for donations. He said that collecting the $1 billion “ain’t gonna be happening” for the families of the victims, claiming that he has “no money,” and pledging that any money donated would “not go to these people.”

Read the full article at Information Liberation.

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