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A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay more than $4 million in compensatory damages to the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre over Jones' repeated public claims that the attack was a hoax. The jury’s decision Thursday marks the first time the Infowars host has been held financially liable for falsely claiming that the attack that killed 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, was staged. It might not be the last such judgment against him, as a judge in Connecticut has already ruled against him in a similar lawsuit. The Texas jury must still decide how much to award in punitive damages.
An attorney for two parents suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre says the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee has requested two years’ worth of records from Jones’ phone. Attorney Mark Bankston said in court Thursday that the committee investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has requested the records. He later said he plans to comply. On Wednesday, Bankston revealed during Jones' defamation trial in Texas that Jones’ attorney had mistakenly sent Bankston the last two years’ worth of texts from Jones’ cellphone. The jury is deciding how much Jones should pay to the parents of a child killed in the 2012 massacre for repeatedly claiming it was a hoax.
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones says he now understands he was irresponsible to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax, and he now believes it was “100% real.” The jury in Austin, Texas, began deliberating Wednesday how much the conspiracy theorist and Infowars host owes the parents of one of the children who were killed in the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut. Testimony wrapped up with Jones telling the jurors that any compensation above $2 million would sink his Texas-based company. Jones also acknowledged that he was wrong to push false claims that the massacre didn’t happen. The parents suing Jones testified Tuesday that an apology wouldn't suffice and that Jones must be held accountable. They are seeking at least $150 million.
In one of the biggest days of this year's primary campaign season, red-state Kansas rejected a measure that would have made it easier to restrict abortion, and voters in Missouri repudiated a scandal-tarred former governor seeking a Senate seat. Meanwhile, a Republican congressman who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection lost to a Trump-backed opponent early Wednesday, while two other impeachment-supporting House Republicans awaited results in their primaries in Washington state. In Michigan, a political newcomer emerged from the state’s messy Republican gubernatorial primary, setting up a rare woman-vs.-woman general election matchup between conservative commentator Tudor Dixon and incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Republican primary voters in Arizona and Kansas are deciding whether to elevate loyalists to former President Donald Trump who support his false claims that he won the 2020 election and send them to the general election. The GOP primary elections for secretary of state on Tuesday are the latest this year to feature candidates who doubt the security of their states' elections despite the lack of evidence of any problems widespread enough to change the results. A secretary of state primary in Washington state includes one candidate who has made voter fraud claims without evidence.
Primary elections are being held in six states on Tuesday. In Missouri, scandal-ridden former Gov. Eric Greitens is attempting a political comeback in his campaign for U.S. Senate. In Michigan, a crowded field of Republican gubernatorial candidates includes a man charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. In Arizona, a prominent figure in the QAnon conspiracy movement is running for the U.S. House. Three House Republicans who voted to cross party lines to impeach President Donald Trump over the deadly insurrection are also on the ballot Tuesday.
An Arizona lawmaker endorsed by former President Donald Trump and another lawmaker who also believes the 2020 election should be overturned are among four Republicans vying to be the top election officer in Arizona. Voters in Kansas also go to the polls Tuesday. They have a choice between a candidate who questions the results and the incumbent Republican who believes the 2020 election in his state was secure. Washington state’s open primary also has a candidate who backs Trump’s unsupported claims. Republicans who question election results have sought top spots overseeing voting in several GOP states this year.
A judge has issued a ruling in a legal dispute between two soccer spouses that captivated Britain, Judge Karen Steyn cleared Coleen Rooney of libeling Rebekah Vardy when she alleged that Vardy had leaked her private social media posts to the tabloid press. The judge concluded that Rooney's allegation was “substantially true.” Vardy sued after Rooney accused her in 2019 of sharing the Instagram content with The Sun. Vardy denied being the leaker, but the judge ruled that it was likely that Vardy’s agent, Caroline Watt, had passed private information to The Sun newspaper with Vardy's knowledge. Vardy is married to Leicester City and England striker Jamie Vardy, and Rooney to former Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney.
The intensifying rivalry between former President Donald Trump and his once fiercely loyal vice president, Mike Pence, has been put on stark display in Washington. The two gave dueling speeches Tuesday on the future of the Republican Party. Trump, in his first return to Washington since Democrat Joe Biden ousted him from the White House, repeated the false election fraud claims that sparked the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Pence, in a separate address, implored the party to move on from Trump’s defeat. Both men have been laying the groundwork for expected presidential runs in 2024.
Wildfires, floods and soaring temperatures have made climate change real to many Americans. Yet a sizeable number continue to dismiss the scientific consensus that human activity is to blame. That's in part because of a decades-long campaign by fossil fuel companies to muddy the facts and promote fringe explanations. Now, even as those same companies embrace renewable energy, the legacy of that climate disinformation remains, posing a challenge to any meaningful attempt to mitigate the damage. Meanwhile, the public's distrust of scientists and scientific institutions has widened to encompass vaccines and public health measures seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.