Six families of victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting and an FBI agent who responded to the scene filed a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday against Infowars and Alex Jones for repeatedly calling the massacre a hoax and accusing the parents of the victims of being crisis actors. Last month, the families of two other victims filed similar defamation lawsuits against Jones in Travis County, Texas, where Infowars is based.
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza fatally gunned down 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Lanza eventually committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
Immediately after the shooting, Jones appeared on Infowars to denounce the incident as a hoax allegedly devised by the federal government to justify taking firearms away from U.S. citizens. On January 13, 2015, Jones reportedly said, “Yeah, so, Sandy Hook is a synthetic. Completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured.”
After enduring years of threats and false accusations from Jones’ overzealous fans, the families of two victims filed lawsuits against Jones last month. Seeking more than $1 million in damages for alleged defamation, the parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner sued Jones in Texas last month.
On Wednesday, the parents of four children killed at the school – Jacqueline and Mark Barden, parents of Daniel; Nicole and Ian Hockley, parents of Dylan; Francine and David Wheeler, parents of Ben; and Jennifer Hensel and Jeremy Richman, parents of Avielle – as well as Donna Soto, Carlee Soto-Parisi, Carlos Soto, and Jillian Soto, the mother and siblings of first-grade teacher Victoria Leigh Soto; Erica Lafferty-Garbatini, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung; and FBI agent Bill Aldenberg, one of the first responders to the scene, filed an additional defamation suit against Jones; Infowars; Wolfgang Halbig, a former police officer who founded the now-defunct website SandyHookJustice; and his associate Cory Sklanka.
“While the nation recoiled at the terrible reality of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Alex Jones saw an opportunity,” the families’ attorney Josh Koskoff told ABC News. “He went on a sustained attack that has lasted for years, accusing shattered family members of being actors, stating as fact that the shooting itself was a hoax and inciting others to act on these malicious lies.”
The lawsuit notes that Edgar Maddison, a North Carolina man sentenced to prison for shooting up a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant in 2016, watched an Infowars video erroneously reporting on the false “pizzagate” scandal, in which prominent Democrats were harboring child sex slaves at the restaurant. The suit also cites the case of Lucy Richards who was sentenced to prison last year for threatening the father of a Sandy Hook victim because she believed he was a crisis actor.
Koskoff added, “He knew his claims were false but he made them anyway to further a simple but pathetic goal: to make money by tearing away at the families’ pain. This lawsuit seeks to hold Alex Jones and his financial network accountable for those disgraceful actions.”
The recent lawsuit seeks monetary and punitive damages, attorney fees, and other costs in excess of $15,000.