US jury awards compensation to father over false Sandy Hook claims
The author of a book denying that a US school massacre took place was ordered to pay $450,000 in compensation to the father of a victim, lawyers said Wednesday.
A gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut on December 14, 2012, but the massacre has sparked false claims that it was a government hoax.
Leonard Pozner, whose son Noah, 6, was among the victims, lodged a court case alleging that James Fetzer's 2015 book, "No one Died at Sandy Hook," was defamatory and had resulted in death threats against him.
The judge in Wisconsin previously ruled that three passages of the book were defamatory, and a jury on Tuesday awarded Pozner $450,000 in damages.
"The jury's verdict reflects the serious damage caused to Mr. Pozner," his lawyer said in a statement to AFP. "This case is a victory for everyone who values truth and facts and reality."
At the trial, Pozner said he had released his son's death certificate on an online memorial page in the interests of transparency.
"After doing that, I was accused of being a fake and a fraud," he said.
Fetzer said he stood by the book, including his claim that the birth certificate was fake.
Conspiracy theorists claim the Sandy Hook school shooting involved "actors" in a plot to discredit the gun lobby.
A woman who claimed the massacre was a hoax was sentenced to five months in prison in 2017 for making death threats against Pozner.
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