Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has once again defended InfoWars host Alex Jones after a court ordered him to pay nearly $1 billion in restitution to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre.
The far-right politician, who has spoken out about the controversial talk show host in the past, said “all he did was say words” and challenged freedom of speech.
“Regardless of what you think of Alex Jones all he did was talk. He wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger,” Georgia’s representative tweeted after Wednesday’s verdict in the second of three defamation trials.
“Was his words wrong and he apologized? Yes. This is freedom of speech. Freedom to speak words.”
He also called the trial a “political prosecution” and said it must end.
Mr. Jones, however, was on trial not just for a statement, but for repeatedly telling his followers for years that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, in which 19 children and six adults were killed at an elementary school, was a hoax.
He said the families and victims were factors in the crisis, the massacre was a “staged” government plot to take guns from Americans and that “no one died.” His lies led to harassment and threats to grieving families.
Eight Sandy Hook families took the conspiracy theorist to court for defamation, testifying that their children’s graves had been desecrated and that they had received threats from Jones’ followers.
Ms Greene, who has repeatedly floated conspiracy theories herself in the past and is a staunch supporter of gun ownership despite America’s repeated mass shootings, had earlier accused the families of trying to “destroy” the InfoWars host.
“He didn’t build his InfoWars on that [claim]. It built on a lot of other news. And Alex Jones was right almost most of the time,” Ms. Greene said earlier, without providing evidence for her claim.
Last month, a jury during a trial brought by an FBI agent received documents that said sales of InfoWars had increased when Mr. Jones talked about Sandy Hook.
The conspiracy theorist built his website and talk show InfoWars over a decade in which he is known to spread misinformation and often support white supremacists. Other events he falsely stated were the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and the 1969 moon landing.
It remains unclear how Mr Jones will pay the $1bn figure, which is more than his net worth.