SANDY HOOK FATHER AWARDED $450,000 IN DEFAMATION SUIT AGAINST UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR

Journalist: Louis Casiano

Source Link: Fox News

October 16, 2019

A Wisconsin jury has awarded the father of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting $450,000 following a defamation lawsuit against a retired university professor who claimed the massacre never happened.

Leonard Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was among 26 victims killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, filed the defamation lawsuit against James Fetzer for disparaging comments he made about the tragedy.

In a statement, Pozner thanked the jury “for recognizing the pain and terror that Mr. Fetzer has purposefully inflicted on me and on other victims of these horrific mass casualty events, like the Sandy Hook shooting,” the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Fetzer, a retired University of Minnesota Duluth professor now living in Wisconsin, and Mike Palacek co-wrote a book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” in which they claimed the shooting was staged by the Obama administration in an effort to enact tighter gun control restrictions.

Palacek reached an undisclosed settlement with Pozner last month. Fetzer called the damages awarded by the Dane County jury “absurd” and said he would appeal.

Pozner testified that he’s received harassment and death threats from conspiracy theorists who claimed he was an actor and that his son never existed. A separate defamation lawsuit by Sandy Hook parents against “Infowars” host Alex Jones, one of the biggest proponents of the theory that the shooting never happened, is pending.

“I had attempted to be transparent. I published Noah’s death certificate on a social media page I used as a memorial page. And after doing that I was accused of being a fake and a fraud and that changed everything,” he said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Along with other Sandy Hook parents, Pozner has spent years lobbying Facebook to remove conspiracist videos about the shooting from its platform.

During the trial, Pozner said Fetzer’s writing caused him to worry for the safety of himself and his family. He emphasized the case was not about First Amendment protections.

“Mr. Fetzer has the right to believe that Sandy Hook never happened. He has the right to express his ignorance,” Pozner said. “This award, however, further illustrates the difference between the right of people like Mr. Fetzer to be wrong and the right of victims like myself and my child to be free from defamation, free from harassment and free from the intentional infliction of terror.”

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SANDY HOOK DENIER ORDERED TO PAY $450K TO VICTIM’S DAD FOR BOOK THAT CLAIMED ‘NOBODY DIED’

Journalist: Joshua Bote

Source Link: USA Today

October 16, 2019

A conspiracy theorist who co-wrote a book claiming the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting never happened must pay $450,000 to a father of a boy killed in the shootings.

The jury’s decision followed a ruling in July that James Fetzer and Mike Palacek, who co-authored a book titled “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” defamed Leonard Pozner, whose six-year-old son Noah was among the 26 victims in the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Fetzer, a retired University of Minnesota Duluth professor, was ordered to pay damages. He called the amount “absurd,” and said he would appeal. Palacek settled with Pozner last month, but those terms were unclear.

In the book, Fetzer and Palacek claimed that Pozner fabricated copies of his son’s death certificate. Fetzer also alleged that the massacre was “a FEMA drill.”

After the ruling, Pozner thanked the jury “for recognizing the pain and terror that Mr. Fetzer has purposefully inflicted on me and on other victims of these horrific mass casualty events, like the Sandy Hook shooting,” per the Wisconsin State Journal.

Pozner has previously said that his family has been threatened and harassed as a result of the conspiracy theories leveled against him, including on a memorial website dedicated to his son.

He took action against Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones last year, filing an anti-defamation lawsuit against Jones. Jones, who was banned from Facebook and YouTube in 2018, insinuated that the Sandy Hook shooting was fabricated.

That case is still pending.

SANDY HOOK FATHER AWARDED $450,000 AFTER SUING CONSPIRACY THEORIST

Source Link: The Guardian

October 16, 2019

Lenny-and-Noah-Pozner.jpg

The father of a boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting has been awarded $450,000 by a jury in Wisconsin after he sued a conspiracy theorist who claimed the massacre never happened.

Leonard Pozner, whose six-year-old son Noah was among the 26 victims at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, sued James Fetzer and co-author Mike Palacek over their book Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, which claimed Noah’s death certificate is fake and Pozner lied about his son being dead.

While Palacek reached an undisclosed settlement with Pozner last month, the defamation suit proceeded against Fetzer. In court, Pozner, a retired Minnesota professor, claimed the statements and the harassment he had received because of the book had given him post-traumatic stress disorder.

Among them were death threats he received from Lucy Richards, a member of a group that believes Sandy Hook is a hoax used to push support for gun control.

In a separate case in 2017, Richards admitted to sending Pozner a threatening message that read, “LOOK BEHIND YOU IT IS DEATH.” She was sentenced to five months in prison followed by three years on supervised release.

On the stand this week, Pozner said his two daughters were with him when the voicemails began playing, and he was concerned for their safety. “It said a lot of ugly things. And I felt like I needed to defend my son,” he said on the stand.

On the stand, Pozner testified he had been “doing well” – and initially interacting with Sandy Hook deniers to try to defuse the situation.

“I had attempted to be transparent. I published Noah’s death certificate on a social media page I used as a memorial page. And after doing that I was accused of being a fake and a fraud and that changed everything,” he said, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

The court heard from Dr Roy Lubit, a forensic psychiatrist, who testified that Pozner’s mental state “went downhill after he was confronted by the denials that it happened”.

Fetzer, however, argued that the statements in his book aren’t defamatory “because they’re true” and maintained there was no proof that Pozner’s harassers were inspired by the book.

The jury disagreed, finding three of the book’s statements to be defamatory.

Fetzer called the damages amount “absurd” and said he would appeal.

After the verdict, Pozner thanked the jury “for recognizing the pain and terror that Mr Fetzer has purposefully inflicted on me and on other victims of these horrific mass casualty events, like the Sandy Hook shooting”.

Pozner went on say that the case was not about free speech rights.

“Mr Fetzer has the right to believe that Sandy Hook never happened,” he said. “He has the right to express his ignorance.”

The award, he added, “further illustrates the difference between the right of people like Mr Fetzer to be wrong and the right of victims like myself and my child to be free from defamation, free from harassment and free from the intentional infliction of terror”.

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SANDY HOOK FATHER AWARDED $450,000 IN DEFAMATION LAWSUIT

Journalist: Joseph De Avila

Source Link: Wall Street Journal

October 16, 2019

A Wisconsin jury awarded $450,000 to the father of a boy who died in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in a defamation case against a man who falsely claimed the attack never happened.

WISCONSIN MAN ORDERED TO PAY $450K TO SANDY HOOK FATHER FOR SAYING SON’S DEATH WAS A HOAX

Journalist: Ella Torres

Source Link: ABC News

October 16, 2019

Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images
Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

A Wisconsin man who claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting never happened was ordered to pay $450,000 to the father of a boy killed in the massacre.

Lenny Pozner, whose son, Noah, was killed in the shooting at the Connecticut elementary school that left 26 dead, filed a defamation lawsuit against James Fetzer in November 2018.

On Tuesday, a Dane County jury decided on the amount Fetzer must pay Pozner, according to one of Pozner’s attorneys.

Fetzer co-authored a book titled “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.” In it, he argued that the shooting was a hoax meant to promote gun control. Fetzer has made similar claims on his website.

A judge ruled in June that Pozner was defamed by claims made in the book, including that he fabricated copies of his son’s death certificate, the AP reported. (Pozner filed a defamation lawsuit against the book’s other author, Mike Palecek, but it was dismissed, according to court records. Palecek reportedly reached an out of court settlement with Pozner last month.)

Fetzer maintained his position Tuesday in a statement to ABC News, calling those who died in the shooting “alleged ‘victims'” who had their death certificates fabricated. He also said the law was used against him “as an instrument of oppression.”

He plans to appeal.

Pozner thanked the jury “for recognizing the pain and terror that Mr. Fetzer has purposefully inflicted on me and on other victims of these horrific mass casualty events, like the Sandy Hook shooting,” according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

“Mr. Fetzer has the right to believe that Sandy Hook never happened,” he said. “He has the right to express his ignorance. This award, however, further illustrates the difference between the right of people like Mr. Fetzer to be wrong and the right of victims like myself and my child to be free from defamation, free from harassment and free from the intentional infliction of terror.”

In a statement to ABC News, Pozner said he hopes the court’s decision will help other victims “of Mr. Fetzer and other conspiracy theorists like him who use the internet to harass and defame” to pursue legal action.

Emily Feinstein, one of Pozner’s attorneys, said the team was very pleased with the outcome. She also applauded Pozner’s courage for testifying in the two-day trial, which was attended by many supporters of Fetzer.

“I can’t even imagine how hard it was for our client,” Feinstein said.

(MORE: Infowars’ Alex Jones ordered to undergo sworn deposition in Sandy Hook lawsuit )

Pozner created his nonprofit, HONR Network, to end the continued harassment he said he faced online from people claiming Sandy Hook was a hoax.

“Our work at [HONR Network] helping protect the families of victims and survivors of mass casualty incidents … from these online predators continues, however this ruling empowers victims and furthers our mission to better protect victims off and online,” Pozner said.

It is not the first case the courts have seen in regard to Sandy Hook conspiracy claims.

Controversial InfoWars radio host Alex Jones was ordered by a Connecticut judge to pay some of the legal fees of a Sandy Hook relative whose lawyer he verbally attacked on his web show, the AP reported.

FATHER OF SANDY HOOK VICTIM SUING LOCAL CONSPIRACY THEORIST FOR EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

Journalist:  Amanda Quintana 

Source Link: Channel 3000

October 16, 2019

Channel 3000 video.JPG

Leonard Pozner, the father of 6-year-old Noah, who was one of the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, is suing conspiracy theorist James Fetzer for defamation.

Fetzer, of Oregon, Wisconsin, wrote the book “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.”

In it, there are theories that claim Noah’s death certificate is fake and Pozner is lying about him being dead. The court has found three of the book’s statements to be defamatory.

Pozner claims he has post-traumatic stress disorder from those statements and the harassment he’s received because of the book.

“It said a lot of ugly things, and I felt like I needed to defend my son,” said Pozner on the stand.

A jury must decide how much money, if any, Pozner deserves because of the defamatory statements Fetzer made.

Tuesday morning the jury heard from Pozner and Dr. Roy Lubit, a forensic psychiatrist.

Pozner spoke about Noah and the death threats he’s received from people, including Lucy Richards.

Richards was sentenced to prison in 2017 for leaving Pozner threatening voicemails, saying, “Death is coming to you real soon.”

Pozner said his two daughters were with him when the voicemails began playing, and he was scared for their safety.

“He was deeply affected by the loss of his son… it went down hill after he was confronted by denials that it happened.”
Psychiatrist says man who lost son in #SandyHook shooting has PTSD because of a local conspiracy theorist. #news3now pic.twitter.com/WSJiZp8KYO — Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) October 15, 2019

He said he was “doing well” and interacting with people that were denying that Sandy Hook happened.

“I had attempted to be transparent. I published Noah’s death certificate on a social media page I used as a memorial page. And after doing that I was accused of being a fake and a fraud and that changed everything,” said Pozner.

Lubit testified that Pozner’s mental state “went downhill after he was confronted by the denials that it happened.”

Lubit said the actions of Fetzer and the allegations in his book led to various events, including threats to Pozner’s life and harassment that caused PTSD.

When Fetzer took the stand Tuesday afternoon, he continued to argue that the statements in his book aren’t defamatory “because they’re true,” but the judge wouldn’t allow him to argue the legitimacy of the false statements.

Fetzer’s attorneys argue that he did not intend to incite violence or criminal activity with his book, which was removed by Amazon so Fetzer made it available for free online.

His attorneys also said there is no proof that the actions of harassers or those who are threatening Pozner were set in motion by the statements in Fetzer’s book.

“(Pozner) basically said that he’s afraid because other people have threatened him, but that’s not an element or a symptom of PTSD,” said Richard Bolton, Fetzer’s attorney.

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