6:04 p.m. ET, October 12, 2022
The jury awarded nearly $1 billion to Sandy Hook families — but the legal process isn't over yet
From CNN's Elise Hammond
William Sherlach, left, hugs attorney Josh Koskoff while Nicole Hockley hugs attorney Chris Mattei following the jury verdict on Wednesday.
(Brian A. Pounds/Hearst Connecticut Media/AP/Pool)
A Connecticut jury decided far-right talk show host Alex Jones should pay eight families of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims and one first responder $965 million
in compensatory damages.
The decision was read in court on Wednesday, but the legal process is not over yet.
The next step is for Judge Barbara Bellis to consider punitive damages, according to Christopher Mattei, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Wednesday's decision from the jury was for compensatory damages — meant to compensate the plaintiffs for what they lost. Punitive damages are to punish the defendant for what they did wrong.
In Connecticut, punitive damages are capped at attorneys' fees and litigation costs, according to CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson. The judge will need to decide, first, if they should be awarded and for how much.
Plaintiff Francine Wheeler wipes away tears on Wednesday.
(Brian A. Pounds/Hearst Connecticut Media/AP/ Pool)
It's also unclear when or how much of the money the plaintiffs will ultimately see. Jones has said that he will appeal the decision and during his Wednesday broadcast said that there “ain’t no money
” to pay the massive figure the jury awarded the plaintiffs.
Jones has also attacked the judicial process, even acknowledging in court that he had referred to the proceedings as those of a “kangaroo court” and called the judge a “tyrant.”
Jones' other legal trouble: The decision in Connecticut comes two months after a jury in Texas determined that Jones and his company should award two Sandy Hook parents who sued in that state nearly $50 million. Later this month, the judge in that case will consider whether to reduce the punitive damages awarded under Texas law.
Once the process of punitive damages is concluded in Connecticut, Mattei said they are heading to Texas, regardless of whether Jones makes an appeal.
"We'll be active down in Texas in an action we brought to track any fraudulent transfer of assets he's made, and in bankruptcy court where we are now very significant creditors of Alex Jones and Free Speech Systems, his business," Mattei said on Wednesday.
CNN's Oliver Darcy contributed to this report