Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook family at least $4 million — number expected to rise tomorrow

InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was ordered by a Texas jury to pay $4 million in compensatory damages for defaming Sandy Hook parents Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin.

The jury in the case was tasked on Thursday with determining compensatory damages for the direct harm the family suffered and awarded a little more than $4 million.

On Friday, the jury will discuss the amount of punitive damages, which is designed to punish Jones to prevent further harm.

Jones, founder of the website InfoWars and host of a popular radio show, has been found liable in multiple defamation lawsuits brought by parents of the victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

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The case in Austin, Texas, was the first of the defamation cases against Jones to reach the damages phase.

The 48-year-old Jones claimed for years on his show and website that the Sandy Hook shooting was "staged" by gun control activists but has since acknowledged it was "100 percent real."

The Texas case was brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the children slain by a 20-year-old gunman in the worst-ever school shooting in the United States.

During the final day of testimony on Wednesday, Mark Bankston, a lawyer for the parents, told Jones while he was on the witness stand that his attorneys had "messed up."

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"They sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you've sent for the past two years, and when informed did not take any steps to identify it as privileged or protected in any way," Bankston said.

The evidence on his phone could have important implications for investigations into Donald Trump's unsuccessful coup attempt. Bankston was said he'll cooperate in getting the evidence to the Department of Justice and House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump appeared frequently on Jones' radio show during his 2016 White House campaign and the InfoWars founder was in Washington when supporters of the then-president stormed Congress in a bid to prevent certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election victory.

Jones has also testified to the committee behind closed doors.

Heslin and Lewis, the parents of Jesse, were seeking compensatory damages of at least $150 million from Jones.

InfoWars declared bankruptcy in April and another company owned by Jones, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy last week.

With additional reporting by AFP