Infowars founder Alex Jones speaks after appearing at his Sandy Hook defamation trial in Waterbury
Infowars founder Alex Jones speaks to the media after appearing at his Sandy Hook defamation trial at Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S., October 4, 2022.

A Connecticut jury resumed deliberations on Friday in a case to decide how much in damages conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting for falsely claiming the massacre was a hoax.

Closing arguments concluded on Thursday after three weeks of trial in Waterbury, Connecticut, not far from where a gunman killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. Jurors were sent home after an hour of deliberations.

Jones claimed for years that the massacre was staged by the government as part of a plot to take away Americans' guns.

In August, another jury found that Jones and his company must pay $49.3 million to Sandy Hook parents in a similar case in Austin, Texas, where the headquarters of Jones' Infowars website is located.

Lawyers for the families of eight Sandy Hook victims in closing arguments on Thursday said Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems LLC, cashed in for years on lies about the shooting, which drove traffic to his Infowars website and sales of products there.

Meanwhile, the victims' families suffered a decade-long campaign of harassment and death threats by Jones' followers, plaintiffs' attorney Chris Mattei told jurors.

"Every single one of these families (was) drowning in grief, and Alex Jones put his foot right on top of them," Mattei said.

Jones' lawyer Norman Pattis countered during his closing argument that the plaintiffs had shown scant evidence of quantifiable losses. Pattis urged jurors to ignore the political undercurrents in the case.

"This is not a case about politics, I remind you that," he said. "It's about how much to compensate the plaintiffs."

The trial was marked by weeks of anguished testimony from the families, who filled the gallery each day and took turns recounting how Jones' lies about Sandy Hook compounded their grief. An FBI agent who responded to the shooting is also a plaintiff in the case.

Jones, who has since acknowledged that the shooting occurred, also testified and briefly threw the trial into chaos as he railed against his "liberal" critics and refused to apologize to the families.

Jones' lawyers have said that they hope to void most of the payout in the Texas case before it is approved by a judge, calling it excessive under state law.