Court hearings will resume Thursday in lawsuits against radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Several families from the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre are suing Jones for defamation over his claims the school shooting was a hoax. A man who Jones' website misidentified as the gunman in the Parkland school shooting has also filed a defamation suit against him.
Jones' attorney argues that his client's past comments are protected by free speech and the suits should be dismissed, reports CBS News' Tony Dokoupil. Although Jones now admits the Sandy Hook shooting was real, he stands by the message he has been spreading to his estimated 5 million listeners.
Jones was not in the Texas courtroom on Wednesday where his attorneys tried to dismiss the first of at least three defamation lawsuits against the radio host. Instead, Jones was at his Austin-based Infowars headquarters addressing – among other things – his ongoing legal fight.
The parents of six-year-old Noah Pozner, who was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, say Jones' followers have tormented them with death threats, forcing them to move seven times. They're seeking more than $1 million in damages.
"They've continuously been harassed by a number of different people believing that Sandy Hook was all pre-planned and it was there to kind of shock the public into supporting restrictions to the 2nd Amendment," said attorney Bill Ogden, who represents Noah Pozner's parents.
The court battle coincides with Spotify's decision to remove several episodes of Jones' podcast for violating the music streaming service's hate speech policy. Last week, Facebook and YouTube removed eight of Jones' videos for violating similar policies.
"Tech companies now have to make a decision about whether they're going to acknowledge the fact that some of these people spreading misinformation are going to do it for as long as Facebook and Google and Spotify will let them," said Casey Newton, who covers Silicon Valley for The Verge.
In addition to asking for the cases to be dismissed, Jones also wants Pozner's family to pay him more than $100,000 in court fees. A state district judge has a month to decide whether to let the lawsuit involving Jones and Pozner's parents continue. Jones' attorney has not responded to CBS News' request for comment.
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