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Social media users shared a range of false claims this week. Here are the facts: An image purporting to show Ghislaine Maxwell with the judge who approved the FBI search warrant for Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was manipulated by combining two unrelated photos. Monkeypox hasn't been detected in Georgia drinking water. A video of a speech by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was translated incorrectly to English. The World Health Organization Director-General is vaccinated against COVID-19, and scientists say a recent finding that Earth is spinning slightly faster is no cause for concern.
A Texas jury has ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages to the parents of a child who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, adding to the $4.1 million he has to pay for the suffering he put them through by claiming for years that the nation’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax. The parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis say they were tormented by the Infowars host’s false claims that the worst classroom shooting in U.S. history was orchestrated by the government to tighten gun laws. The total of nearly $50 million marks the first time Jones has been held financially liable for peddling lies about the 2012 attack in Newtown, Connecticut.
Far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones bulled through the first trial that could decimate his personal fortune and media empire in his usual way. He was loud, aggressive and talking about conspiracies both in and out the courtroom. It was business as usual for the gravelly voiced, barrel-chested Jones. But by courtroom standards, his erratic and, at times, disrespectful behavior is unusual. It's also potentially complicated for the legal process. Jones and his media company, Free Speech Systems, were ordered Friday to pay $45.2 million in punitive damages on top of $4.11 million in compensatory damages to the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis. He was killed with 19 other first graders and six educators in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
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.
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.
Ukraine’s state emergencies agency says three bodies were recovered from a school hit by a Russian strike in the country's east. The reported casualties in the city of Kramatorsk followed a string of attacks in several parts of Ukraine, included an attack that killed three other people Thursday in the nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv. In a rare sign of light, Russian and Ukrainian officials on Friday signed agreements with the U.N. and Turkey that are meant to avert a global food crisis by clearing the way for the shipment of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain and for Russia to export grain and fertilizer. Beyond that, there was no indication of relief from the grinding war.
The BBC has apologized to the former nanny to Princes William and Harry over “false and malicious” claims made against her as part of a journalist’s attempt to obtain an exclusive television interview with Princess Diana. Alexandra Pettifer, formerly known as Tiggy Legge-Bourke, appeared at London’s High Court Thursday for a public apology from the broadcaster over false claims that she had an affair with Prince Charles while working as his personal assistant in 1995. BBC director-general Tim Davie said the corporation has agreed to pay “substantial damages” to Pettifer. William and Harry have strongly criticized the BBC for its shortcomings after an investigation found that one of its journalists, Martin Bashir, used deceitful means to secure the explosive Diana interview in 1995.
An Indiana lawyer has emailed the state’s attorney general asking him to stop spreading false or misleading information about an Indianapolis doctor who performed an abortion in June on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. Attorney Kathleen DeLaney sent a “cease and desist” letter Friday to Indiana Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita on behalf of obstetrician-gynecologist Caitlin Bernard, who performed the abortion on the girl. The letter says Rokita’s statements Wednesday on Fox News cast Bernard in a false light, allege misconduct and could incite violence. Kelly Stevenson, a spokesperson for Rokita's office, says he made “no misleading statements.”