Alex Jones will likely not have to pay anywhere near full $45M in damages to Sandy Hook parents due to Texas law that limits winnings to just $750,000 on each count, legal experts say

Alex Jones may pay as little as 10 percent of the $45 million in punitive damages awarded to the parents of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook massacreThe parents' attorney believes the damages will likely be capped at $4.5 millionHowever, Jones' lawyer expects the punitive award to be reduced to $1.5 millionLegal experts claim Texas law caps punitive damages at $750,000 when economic losses are not involved, as in this caseThe judge must approve the final amount, a decision that is expected soon

Alex Jones will likely pay only a fraction of the $45 million in punitive damages awarded to the parents of a young boy killed in the Sandy Hook massacre.

The conservative conspiracy theorist could end up owing as little as 10 percent of the punitive damages that a Texas jury ordered him to pay Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis.

A jury handed down the punitive damages’ verdict on Friday and awarded the parents $4.1 million in compensatory damages on Thursday after a two-week trial in Austin, where Jones’ Infowars radio show and webcast is based.

The broadcaster was found last year to have defamed Heslin and Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jesse Lewis died in the Connecticut school shooting in 2012, by spreading lies that they were part of a government plot to stage the massacre.

An attorney for the parents believes the damages will likely be capped at $4.5 million, however Jones’ lawyer predicts it could be even less.

Alex Jones (pictured August 2) will likely pay only a fraction of the $45 million in punitive damages awarded to the parents of a young boy killed in the Sandy Hook massacre

Alex Jones (pictured August 2) will likely pay only a fraction of the $45 million in punitive damages awarded to the parents of a young boy killed in the Sandy Hook massacre

Attorney Federico Andino Reynal, who represented Jones, said in court Friday that he will seek to reduce the $45.2 million punitive damages award because it does not comply with Texas law.

While juries have broad discretion on awards, states law caps punitive damages at $750,000 when economic losses are not involved, as in this case.

Reynal confirmed on Monday that he plans to invoke the cap. According to the New York Times, he expects the punitive award to be reduced to $1.5 million.

Mark Bankston, an attorney for the parents, said Monday that because Jones and his company face three claims each, he estimates the cap would be $4.5 million.

Bankston said he will argue the damages cap does not apply, but declined to elaborate further.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who presided over the case, must approve the final amount, a decision that is expected soon.



A Texas jury ordered Jones to pay Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis $45.2 million punitive damages and $4.1 million in compensatory damages. PICTURED: J.T. Lewis, Sophia Vetare, Mark Bankston, Bill Ogden, Neil Heslin, Kyle Farrar, Scarlett Lewis and Wesley Ball gather for a photo after jurors return a punitive damages verdict on Friday

A Texas jury ordered Jones to pay Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis $45.2 million punitive damages and $4.1 million in compensatory damages. PICTURED: J.T. Lewis, Sophia Vetare, Mark Bankston, Bill Ogden, Neil Heslin, Kyle Farrar, Scarlett Lewis and Wesley Ball gather for a photo after jurors return a punitive damages verdict on Friday

Jones' lawyer Federico Andino Reynal (pictured Friday) said in court Friday that he will seek to reduce the $45.2 million punitive damages award because it does not comply with Texas law, which caps punitive damages at $750,000 when economic losses are not involved

Jones’ lawyer Federico Andino Reynal (pictured Friday) said in court Friday that he will seek to reduce the $45.2 million punitive damages award because it does not comply with Texas law, which caps punitive damages at $750,000 when economic losses are not involved

Several defamation lawyers have said they were skeptical that the parents will be able to get around the cap.

‘They’re not going to collect it all – no way,’ Texas defamation lawyer Chuck Sanders said.

The initial number will still be a lasting deterrent to spreading misinformation if the verdict is cut significantly, Sanders said.

Even if the parents can convince Judge Gamble that the cap should not apply, Texas Supreme Court precedent holds that the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages should rarely exceed four-to-one.

The jury’s verdict in this case represents an 11-to-1 ratio.

In reaching their decision, the Texas justices cited a 2003 decision by the US Supreme Court, which said that the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages should only exceed single digits in rare cases.

Jones’ company, Free Speech Systems LLC, filed for bankruptcy protection on July 29, pausing two other Sandy Hook cases against Jones.

An attorney for the parents believes the damages will likely be capped at $4.5 million, however Jones' lawyer predicts it could be around $1.5 million. Jones and Reynal are pictured outside the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas, on July 26, 2022

An attorney for the parents believes the damages will likely be capped at $4.5 million, however Jones’ lawyer predicts it could be around $1.5 million. Jones and Reynal are pictured outside the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas, on July 26, 2022

Attorney Bill Ogden gives Scarlett Lewis, mother of 6-year-old shooting victim Jesse Lewis, a hug after jurors return a punitive damages verdict of $45.2 million against Alex Jones

Attorney Bill Ogden gives Scarlett Lewis, mother of 6-year-old shooting victim Jesse Lewis, a hug after jurors return a punitive damages verdict of $45.2 million against Alex Jones


Lawyers for Heslin and Lewis said they hoped a big-money verdict against Jones would serve as a deterrent to him and others who peddle misinformation for profit.

‘I am asking you to take the bullhorn away from Alex Jones and all of the others who believe they can profit off of fear and misinformation,’ attorney Wesley Ball said in his closing argument Friday.

‘The gold rush of fear and misinformation must end, and it must end today.’

Jones, who has since acknowledged the Sandy Hook shooting was real, has claimed his statements about massacre were protected by the First Amendment. He even showed up to court with ‘Save the 1st’ scrawled on a piece of tape over his mouth.

But despite the public theatrics, Jones never got to make that argument in court. After he failed to comply with orders to hand over critical evidence, a judge entered a default judgment for the plaintiffs and skipped right to the punishment phase.

Reynal told the jury during closing arguments that a large judgment would have a chilling effect on people seeking to hold governments accountable.

‘You’ve already sent a message. A message for the first time to a talk show host, to all talk show hosts, that their standard of care has to change,’ Reynal told jurors.

As for Jones, Reynal said he isn’t going away any time soon. He’ll remain on the air while they appeal the verdict, one of the largest and highest-profile decisions in a defamation case in recent years.

Among others: a gadfly ordered in February to pay $50 million to a South Carolina mayor after accusing her in emails of committing a crime and being unfit for office; a former tenant ordered in 2016 to pay $38.3 million for posting a website accusing a real estate investor of running a Ponzi scheme; and a New Hampshire mortgage provider ordered in 2017 to pay $274 million to three businessmen after he posted billboards accusing them of drug dealing and extortion.

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