The multi-million-dollar judgments in favor of the parents of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim who sued radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones come as no surprise, and won't likely be reversed on the merits of the case, Harvard Law professor emeritus and author Alan Dershowitz said on Newsmax Saturday.
"Remember these are not public figures, so they don't have to prove malice," Dershowitz tells Newsmax's "America Right Now." "All they have to prove is that they were defamed through negligence or other ways, so I doubt that we'll see a reversal on the merits."
A Texas jury ruled Friday that Jones must pay Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the separated parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, who was murdered in the 2012 shootings, $45.2 million in punitive damages in addition to the $4.1 million in compensatory damages that were already rewarded for falsely claiming that the massacre was a hoax.
The parents testified during the trial that Jones's followers had harassed them and sent them death threats for years because they thought the pair was lying about the death of their son, who was killed along with 20 children and six staff at the Newtown, Connecticut school.
Dershowitz said Saturday that there could be "some kind of appeal" after Jones's emails were turned over by his lawyer accidentally to the defense.
"Also, the amount of punitive damages could be lowered by appellate courts," he said.
"That often happens in these kinds of cases. But if there's a new trial without these emails coming in, it's very likely a jury will again find at least compensatory damages and some degree of punitive damages."
The punitive damages were also intended to send the message that "these are grieving parents. You shouldn't be insulting their memories this way," said Dershowitz.
He also said he thinks Jones could face perjury charges for the testimony concerning his phone records, concerning text messages that were discovered that he claimed did not exist, but he doesn't know that Jones would be sentenced to jail, as that does not often happen in cases of perjury.
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