Alex Jones may pay fraction of $45.2 million in punitive damages
Jones' attorney expects the punitive award to be reduced to $1.5 million.
Infowars founder Alex Jones may owe just 10% of the $45.2 million awarded by a Texas jury last week in punitive damages to the parents of a child killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, according to legal experts.
The jury also ordered Jones to pay $4.1 million in compensatory damages on Thursday following a two-week trial in Austin, Texas, where Infowars is based. The court found Jones defamed Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of 6-year-old Sandy Hook Shooting victim Jesse Lewis after Jones said the couple was part of a government plot to fake the 2012 massacre.
Under Texas law, punitive damages are capped at $750,000 in cases without economic losses, such as the case against Jones, according to Reuters.
Lawyer Mark Bankston, who represents the parents, told the outlet that because Jones and his company both face three claims, he thinks the cap will be set at $4.5 million. Bankston said he plans on arguing that the damages cap should not apply, but he did not go into details.
The final amount must be approved by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble.
Jones' attorney, Federico Andino Reynal, on Friday said he will attempt to reduce the $45.2 million in punitive damages because it does not follow Texas law. He expects the punitive award to be reduced to $1.5 million.
"They're not going to collect it all — no way," Texas defamation lawyer Chuck Sanders speculated.
Even if Bankston can convince the judge to not apply the damages cap, Texas Supreme Court precedent states that the punitive to compensatory damages ratio should hardly ever exceed four-to-one. Jones is ordered to pay damages at an 11-to-1 ratio.
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