The trial has not yet started in a lawsuit filed by the father of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, but Alex Jones is already on the hook for more than $100,000 in fees and sanctions because of his failure to comply with discovery orders in the case.
According to The Hill and the New York Times, Judge Scott Jenkins of Travis County District Court in Texas ordered Jones and InfoWars to pay $65,825 in sanctions for discovery violations, and another $34,323.80 in legal fees for flagrant violations of court orders related to the discovery process in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit arises out of claims Jones made on air that the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, was a staged hoax. Twenty school children and six adults lost their lives in the mass murder. Jones claimed on air that the shooting did not happen and was a staged event in order to encourage Congress to pass stricter gun control laws, and also that the parents who were shown on television were paid crisis actors.
In one March 2014 episode, Jones said on air, "We've clearly got people where it's actors playing different parts of different people... I've looked at it and undoubtedly there's a cover-up, there's actors, they're manipulating, they've been caught lying and they were pre-planning before it and rolled out with it."
In a sworn deposition for this case, Jones has admitted that these claims are not true and that the Sandy Hook shooting really happened, but stated that "a form of psychosis" caused by the media's repeated dishonesty made him question the claims.
The lawsuit was filed by Neil Heslin, the father of one of the children who was killed in the shooting. Lawyers for Heslin filed a motion for sanctions against Jones and InfoWars on Dec. 9, alleging that the defendants had not complied with court orders regarding document production and that InfoWars failed to provide a suitable corporate witness for the purpose of depositions.
Specifically, the motion alleged that InfoWars had failed to appropriately preserve internal "Slack" messages as ordered, and that the corporate witness provided by InfoWars (producer Rob Dew) did not have satisfactory knowledge about the network's handling of coverage related to the Sandy Hook shooting. Judge Jenkins agreed, stating that Jones and InfoWars' refusal to comply with an October court order related to these matters was clearly willful and should "be treated as contempt of court."
Jones and his legal team have previously been sanctioned by the court for discovery violations in the case, including an incident earlier this year in which Jones' attorneys transmitted child pornography to attorneys for the plaintiffs during the discovery process.