Jury selection is set for Monday in a trial that will determine for the first time how much Infowars host Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook Elementary School parents for falsely telling his audience that the deadliest classroom shooting in U.S. history was a hoax.
The trial in Austin, Texas — where the conspiracy theorist lives and broadcasts his show — follows months of delays. Jones has racked up fines for ignoring court orders, and he put Infowars into bankruptcy protection just before the trial was originally set to start in April.
At stake for Jones is another potentially major financial blow that could further jeopardize his constellation of conspiracy-peddling businesses. He has already been banned from YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify over violating hate-speech policies.
The trial involving the parents of two Sandy Hook families is only the start for Jones; damages have yet to be awarded in separate defamation cases for other families of the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
The lawsuits do not ask jurors to award a specific dollar amount against Jones.
Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his portrayal of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax involving actors aimed at increasing gun control. In both states, judges have issued default judgements against Jones without trials because he failed to respond to court orders and turn over documents.