As Alex Jones prepares to deal with the shutdown of several of his social media pages (including four Facebook pages and his Infowars YouTube channel), he also has to contend with multiple defamation lawsuits that have been filed against him, at least one of which will soon be moving forward.
Judge Scott Jenkins of the District Court for the 53rd District in Austin, Texas, denied Jones’s motion to dismiss the case. Jones claimed his hateful speech was protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but Judge Jenkins disagreed. Defamation is not protected under the First Amendment, and if the plaintiffs can prove their claims of financial damages as a result of Jones’s defamatory statements, then they’ll have a solid case for defamation.
In his request to have the lawsuit dismissed, Jones included a request that the families suing him pay him $100,000 for the legal fees he has incurred in defending himself against their lawsuit.
While defendants are often made to pay legal fees if a court rules against them, it’s almost unheard of for a court to require a plaintiff to pay for a defendant’s legal fees. As the situation currently stands for Jones, not only will he not get that $100,000, but he might have to pay more than $1 million in damages to Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, the parents of six-year-old Noah, who was one of the children gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Jones has repeatedly called the mass shooting a hoax and accused victims and family members of being actors who are paid by the government and gun control lobbyists to carry out their anti-gun conspiracy.
Since airing such statements, some of Jones’s listeners have responded by stalking victims and family members, sending death threats, and demanding “proof” that their dead children ever existed. At least one family said the threats forced them to move into a gated community and Pozner and De La Rose said they have had to move seven times as a result of Jones’s alleged defamatory statements.
But there are also people standing up for the Sandy Hook family members to fight against Jones and his bullying tactics. One of those people is Jones’s own ex-wife, Kelly Jones, who stood outside the courthouse during his hearing last month holding a sign that said, “Honk 4 Sandy Hook kids.” She released a statement saying that Texas is a strong state that cares about justice and does not tolerate bullies who go after kids or parents whose children have been murdered.
Of course, this is just the beginning. The refusal of Jones’s request to dismiss the lawsuit is a win for Pozner and De La Cruz, but it’s a small win. The larger, more important fight is still to come, and if it’s the first defamation case against Jones to reach a decision, it will have the potential to impact some or all of the other defamation lawsuits that Sandy Hook survivors and family members have filed against Jones.
Our Lake Forest, IL libel and slander lawyers concentrate in this area of the law. We have defended or prosecuted a number of defamation and libel cases, including cases representing a consumer sued by a large luxury used car dealer in federal court for hundreds of negative internet reviews and videos which resulted in substantial media coverage of the suit; one of Loyola University’s largest contributors when the head basketball coach sued him for libel after he was fired; and a lawyer who was falsely accused of committing fraud with the false allegation published to the Dean of the University of Illinois School of Law, where the lawyer attended law school and the President of the University of Illinois. One of our partners also participated in representing a high profile athlete against a well-known radio shock jock.
Our Chicago defamation attorneys defend individuals’ First Amendment and free speech rights to post on Facebook, Yelp and other websites information that criticizes businesses and addresses matters of public concern. Our Chicago Cybersquatting attorneys also represent and prosecute claims on behalf of businesses throughout the Chicago area including in Lincolnwood and Skokie who have been unfairly and falsely criticized by consumers and competitors in defamatory publications in the online and offline media. We have successfully represented businesses who have been the victim of competitors setting up false rating sites and pretend consumer rating sites that are simply forums to falsely bash or business clients. We have also represented and defended consumers First Amendment and free speech rights to criticize businesses who are guilty of consumer fraud and false advertising.
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Lubin Austermuehle’s DuPage County defamation and slander lawyers near Burr Ridge and LaGrange Park have more than three decades of experience helping business clients unravel the complexities of Illinois and out-of-state business laws. Our Chicago business litigation lawyers represent individuals, family businesses and enterprises of all sizes in a variety of legal disputes, including disputes among partners and shareholders as well as lawsuits between businesses and consumer rights, auto fraud, and wage claim individual and class action cases. In every case, our goal is to resolve disputes as quickly and successfully as possible, helping business clients protect their investments and get back to business as usual. From offices in Oak Brook, near Winnetka, Kenilworth, and Evanston, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest. For a free consultation, you can contact us locally at 630-333-0333 or online.