HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The families of two children slain in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre have filed lawsuits against right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for claiming the shooting in Connecticut did not happen.
Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, and Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, the parents of Noah Pozner, filed separate defamation lawsuits seeking more than $1 million in damages. The suits were filed late Monday in Travis County, Texas, where Jones’ media company, InfoWars, is based.
“Our clients have been tormented for five years by Mr. Jones’ ghoulish accusations that they are actors who faked their children’s deaths as part of a fraud on the American people. Enough is enough,” said Mark Bankston, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Jesse and Noah were among the 20 first-grade students and six educators gunned down inside the school in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012. The gunman, Adam Lanza, fatally shot his mother before driving to the school to carry out the massacre and then killed himself.
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The lawsuits allege that Jones’ insistence that the shooting was staged encouraged others to make death threats against the victims’ families.
Jones responded to the allegations in a YouTube video , saying the families are being used by the Democratic Party and the news media, and that he believes Sandy Hook “really happened.”
Jones invited parents who lost their children to his show to have a “real discussion” about guns. He said he believes the lawsuits will be thrown out.
The lawsuit filed by Neil Heslin cites a November 2016 broadcast in which Jones suggested the parents who were interviewed on television were actors.
“So, if children were lost at Sandy Hook, my heart goes out to each and every one of those parents. And the people who say they’re parents that I see on the news. The only problem is, I’ve watched a lot of soap operas. And I’ve seen actors before. And I know when I’m watching a movie and when I’m watching something real,” Jones said.