A Connecticut judge on Monday found Alex Jones liable for damages in a defamation lawsuit filed by the parents of victims of the Sandy Hook mass school shooting, which the conspiracy theorist and radio host has repeatedly claimed was a government-orchestrated hoax.
The ruling by Judge Barbara Bellis, obtained by PEOPLE, says that Jones and his companies, Infowars and Free Speech Systems, failed to hand over documents and records for discovery.
The shooting inside the Newtown, Conn., school claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.
The decision means that a jury will determine what damages Jones owes the plaintiffs. A hearing to determine damages will happen in 2022.
“What’s clear from Judge Bellis’s ruling is that Alex Jones and the Jones defendants have engaged in a long, continuous course of misconduct in this case designed to prevent the plaintiffs from getting evidence about Mr Jones’ business and about his motives for publishing lies about them and their families,” said Christopher Mattei, the lawyer representing the victims’ relatives, after Monday’s ruling.
In a statement, Jones said that he did provide the documents the court had requested.
“These individuals, again, are not allowing me to have a jury trial because they know the things they said I supposedly did didn’t happen,” Jones said in the statement. “They know they don’t have a case for damages. And so the judge is saying you are guilty of damages, now a jury decides how guilty you are. It’s not guilty until proven guilty.”
Norm Pattis, one of Jones’ attorneys, told the Associated Press an appeal of the judge’s decision is in the works.
His defense team has argued that Jones and his words are protected by the First Amendment.
After the shooting, Jones went on his show on Infowars.com, which has trafficked in various fictitious conspiracy theories, to spread baseless and inflammatory statements about the massacre.
Calling the mass shooting “a giant hoax,” he told the millions who watch his show and visit his site that it was a “false flag” operation staged by crisis actors posing as grieving parents to strengthen gun violence prevention laws.
This is the second such suit Jones has lost in the last two months.
In late September, a Texas judge determined Jones had defaulted in three similar defamation lawsuits filed by victims’ families. The suits were filed in Texas, as Jones’ businesses are registered in that state.
Online court records confirm that Jones will be deposed on Dec. 14, the mass shooting’s ninth anniversary.