Sandy Hook Victim’s Father Wins Defamation Suit; Alex Jones Sanctioned

Journalist: Vanessa Romo

Source Link: NPR

June 18, 2019

Leonard Pozner, whose 6-year-old son was killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has been battling against conspiracy theorists for years, and on Tuesday he scored a victory against deniers who claim that the shooting that left 20 first-graders dead never happened.

A Wisconsin judge issued a summary judgment in favor of Pozner in a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book called Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, a 400-page book purporting a series of false claims, including ideas that the mass shooting was a FEMA drill to promote gun control and that the grieving father had fabricated his son Noah’s death certificate, which is a crime in Connecticut.

“Mr. Pozner has sought for years to try to get these conspiracy theorists to understand that his son really was a person and that his son really did die and as a last resort we initiated this defamation case,” Pozner’s lawyer, Jake Zimmerman, told NPR.

The lawsuit focused narrowly on the claim by James Fetzer and Mike Palecek that Pozner had forged or faked the death certificate, though it also alluded to other convoluted theories advanced by Fetzer on his blog, including the theory that Noah was not Pozner’s son.

“Fetzer acted with actual malice,” court documents say, also accusing the writer of publishing statements knowing that they “were false or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statements.”

Fetzer responded to the decision in a tweet, writing, “My day in Court did not turn out as expected.” He insisted that he was “able to produce decisive proof the [copy of] death certificate” he retrieved from the Internet is a fabrication, but said the judge ruled against him because his evidence “lacks certification.”

Initially, the case also included Florida-based publisher Moon Rocks Books, but the principal officer of the company, Dave Gahary, settled the case following a May deposition with Pozner.

“I looked him in the eyes, listened to his testimony, had frank discussions about our respective concerns, and, in the end, shook his hand,” Gahary said in a statement on Monday.

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son. I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family,” he said, also offering his condolences.

Gahary agreed to stop publishing future editions of the book and to stop selling it entirely by the end of the month.

A trial to decide damages has been set for October.

Although it was a singular legal win for Pozner as the sole plaintiff, Zimmerman said the decision is also significant for nearly all of the families of Sandy Hook victims.

“Most of them are mentioned one way or another in these books. Most of them are accused of being either crisis actors or a part of a government cover-up. And so having that book go off the shelves is a victory for not just the families of Sandy Hook but really for the people in the community,” Zimmerman said.

To prove the authenticity of the child’s death certificate, which has been circulated by Pozner in a crusade to combat the myriad false narratives championed by deniers, Zimmerman said he offered the court the original Connecticut state document.

“We were able to hand that to the judge and let him feel that raised seal with his own hands,” Zimmerman said.

He also took an extraordinary step: He filed a motion asking the court to appoint an independent expert to conduct a postmortem paternity test using Noah’s limited remaining DNA matter.

“We obtained a sample of Noah Pozner’s DNA from the medical examiner’s office and had a court-ordered expert do DNA testing to confirm that Leonard Pozner was the biological father of the person whose body was examined by Connecticut’s state medical examiner,” Zimmerman explained.

“We wanted to make sure that our hands were out of it, and no one could ever accuse us of having injected ourselves into the process in a way that could impact the outcome.”

Pozner has been at the forefront of the legal fight against claims by hoaxers that the Sandy Hook shooting was a staged event. He is involved in at least nine lawsuits in multiple states, including more defamation cases that have grown to include other victims’ family members.

A separate defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist and InfoWars owner Alex Jones took a strange turn on Tuesday when a Connecticut judge sanctioned the Web-show host for what she called a despicable tirade against the attorney representing the families of victims of the school shooting.

During his show on Friday, Jones launched into a five-minute profanity-laden tirade claiming he was the target of a malware attack that planted child pornography on the InfoWars servers. He accused Christopher Mattei, who is representing the families in their suit against Jones, of instigating the alleged attack.

“We all know who did it,” said Jones, who was accompanied by his lawyer Norm Pattis.

Jones then offered a $1 million bounty to anyone who could find the alleged hacker. “You’re trying to set me up with child porn, I’m going to get your a**. One million dollars, one million dollars you little gang member. One million dollars to put your head on a pike. One million dollars, b****. I am going to get your a**,” Jones screamed. “You’re not going to ever defeat Texas you sacks of s***.”

Jones held up a picture of Mattei during much of the rant, pounding his fist into the photograph.

The illegal images were discovered after InfoWars was forced to turn over email metadata from the company’s servers, according to court documents filed on Monday. FBI officials determined the images “had apparently been sent to Infowars email addresses.”

The filing adds: “It is worth noting that if the Jones Defendants had engaged in even minimal due diligence and actually reviewed the materials before production, they would have found the images themselves. Because the Jones Defendants did not do that, they transmitted images to the plaintiffs that if they were knowingly possessed is a serious federal crime.”

The sanctions ordered by Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis blocks Jones’ attorneys from further attempts to dismiss the case. They also require that the infamous provocateur pay attorneys fees to the Sandy Hook families’ lawyers related to the matter Jones addressed on last week’s broadcast.

“His conduct, and I think the court concluded this, really threatened the integrity of judicial proceedings here in Connecticut,” Mattei told reporters after the ruling.

Pattis said his client’s conduct was inappropriate but not threatening. He later said he would appeal the ruling.

While Jones asserted for years that the Newtown, Conn., tragedy was a “giant hoax” and “that the whole thing was fake,” he has since acknowledged that the shooting occurred.

In a March deposition, Jones blamed his unfounded opinion on “a form of psychosis” he claimed he had in the past “where I basically thought everything was staged … even though I’m learning a lot of things aren’t staged,” The Associated Press reported.

Reporter Davis Dunavin of member station WSHU contributed to this story.

Jose Luis Magana/AP
Journalist: Vanessa Romo
Source Link: NPR
June 18, 2019
Leonard Pozner, whose 6-year-old son was killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has been battling against conspiracy theorists for years, and on Tuesday he scored a victory against deniers who claim that the shooting that left 20 first-graders dead never happened.
A Wisconsin judge issued a summary judgment in favor of Pozner in a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book called Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, a 400-page book purporting a series of false claims, including ideas that the mass shooting was a FEMA drill to promote gun control and that the grieving father had fabricated his son Noah’s death certificate, which is a crime in Connecticut.
“Mr. Pozner has sought for years to try to get these conspiracy theorists to understand that his son really was a person and that his son really did die and as a last resort we initiated this defamation case,” Pozner’s lawyer, Jake Zimmerman, told NPR.
The lawsuit focused narrowly on the claim by James Fetzer and Mike Palecek that Pozner had forged or faked the death certificate, though it also alluded to other convoluted theories advanced by Fetzer on his blog, including the theory that Noah was not Pozner’s son.
“Fetzer acted with actual malice,” court documents say, also accusing the writer of publishing statements knowing that they “were false or with reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statements.”
Fetzer responded to the decision in a tweet, writing, “My day in Court did not turn out as expected.” He insisted that he was “able to produce decisive proof the [copy of] death certificate” he retrieved from the Internet is a fabrication, but said the judge ruled against him because his evidence “lacks certification.”
Initially, the case also included Florida-based publisher Moon Rocks Books, but the principal officer of the company, Dave Gahary, settled the case following a May deposition with Pozner.
“I looked him in the eyes, listened to his testimony, had frank discussions about our respective concerns, and, in the end, shook his hand,” Gahary said in a statement on Monday.
“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son. I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family,” he said, also offering his condolences.
Gahary agreed to stop publishing future editions of the book and to stop selling it entirely by the end of the month.
A trial to decide damages has been set for October.
Although it was a singular legal win for Pozner as the sole plaintiff, Zimmerman said the decision is also significant for nearly all of the families of Sandy Hook victims.
“Most of them are mentioned one way or another in these books. Most of them are accused of being either crisis actors or a part of a government cover-up. And so having that book go off the shelves is a victory for not just the families of Sandy Hook but really for the people in the community,” Zimmerman said.
To prove the authenticity of the child’s death certificate, which has been circulated by Pozner in a crusade to combat the myriad false narratives championed by deniers, Zimmerman said he offered the court the original Connecticut state document.
“We were able to hand that to the judge and let him feel that raised seal with his own hands,” Zimmerman said.
He also took an extraordinary step: He filed a motion asking the court to appoint an independent expert to conduct a postmortem paternity test using Noah’s limited remaining DNA matter.
“We obtained a sample of Noah Pozner’s DNA from the medical examiner’s office and had a court-ordered expert do DNA testing to confirm that Leonard Pozner was the biological father of the person whose body was examined by Connecticut’s state medical examiner,” Zimmerman explained.
“We wanted to make sure that our hands were out of it, and no one could ever accuse us of having injected ourselves into the process in a way that could impact the outcome.”
Pozner has been at the forefront of the legal fight against claims by hoaxers that the Sandy Hook shooting was a staged event. He is involved in at least nine lawsuits in multiple states, including more defamation cases that have grown to include other victims’ family members.
A separate defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist and InfoWars owner Alex Jones took a strange turn on Tuesday when a Connecticut judge sanctioned the Web-show host for what she called a despicable tirade against the attorney representing the families of victims of the school shooting.
During his show on Friday, Jones launched into a five-minute profanity-laden tirade claiming he was the target of a malware attack that planted child pornography on the InfoWars servers. He accused Christopher Mattei, who is representing the families in their suit against Jones, of instigating the alleged attack.
“We all know who did it,” said Jones, who was accompanied by his lawyer Norm Pattis.
Jones then offered a $1 million bounty to anyone who could find the alleged hacker. “You’re trying to set me up with child porn, I’m going to get your a**. One million dollars, one million dollars you little gang member. One million dollars to put your head on a pike. One million dollars, b****. I am going to get your a**,” Jones screamed. “You’re not going to ever defeat Texas you sacks of s***.”
Jones held up a picture of Mattei during much of the rant, pounding his fist into the photograph.
The illegal images were discovered after InfoWars was forced to turn over email metadata from the company’s servers, according to court documents filed on Monday. FBI officials determined the images “had apparently been sent to Infowars email addresses.”
The filing adds: “It is worth noting that if the Jones Defendants had engaged in even minimal due diligence and actually reviewed the materials before production, they would have found the images themselves. Because the Jones Defendants did not do that, they transmitted images to the plaintiffs that if they were knowingly possessed is a serious federal crime.”
The sanctions ordered by Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis blocks Jones’ attorneys from further attempts to dismiss the case. They also require that the infamous provocateur pay attorneys fees to the Sandy Hook families’ lawyers related to the matter Jones addressed on last week’s broadcast.
“His conduct, and I think the court concluded this, really threatened the integrity of judicial proceedings here in Connecticut,” Mattei told reporters after the ruling.
Pattis said his client’s conduct was inappropriate but not threatening. He later said he would appeal the ruling.
While Jones asserted for years that the Newtown, Conn., tragedy was a “giant hoax” and “that the whole thing was fake,” he has since acknowledged that the shooting occurred.
In a March deposition, Jones blamed his unfounded opinion on “a form of psychosis” he claimed he had in the past “where I basically thought everything was staged … even though I’m learning a lot of things aren’t staged,” The Associated Press reported.
Reporter Davis Dunavin of member station WSHU contributed to this story.
Jose Luis Magana/AP
Jose Luis Magana/APJose Luis Magana/AP

Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorist Loses to Father of 6-Year-Old Victim Over Hoax

Journalist: Sharon Otterman

Source Link: New York Times

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Several years ago a small publishing house called Moon Rock Books published a 455-page volume that argued the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre had never happened.

In a dozen chapters, the book professed, among other things, that the school in Newtown, Conn., had been abandoned years before a gunman killed 20 first graders and six staff members.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, it claimed, had staged the event to promote gun control measures. And Leonard Pozner, the father of the youngest child to die that day, had faked his 6-year-old son’s death certificate in service of the conspiracy, it claimed.

On Monday, Mr. Pozner, who has made it his life’s work to stop those who would seek to deny the Dec. 14, 2012, school shooting, won a key challenge: A judge ruled for the first time that Mr. Pozner had been defamed by the publication of “Nobody Died At Sandy Hook: It was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control.”

“This is a victory for myself and my family,” Mr. Pozner said in an interview on Tuesday. “It is also a victory for the survivors and victims’ families of all mass casualty events who have been targeted by these people.”

The advocacy of the group Mr. Pozner founded, the HONR Network, has helped push corporations, like YouTube and Facebook, to remove thousands of false posts about the massacre, and to provide new ways for users to report hateful content. Other family members of victims and survivors of the attack have also been involved in recent years in taking on conspiracy theorists on a variety of fronts, including through legal action.

Judge Frank Remington of the Dane County Circuit Court in Wisconsin ruled on Monday that the editors of the book, James Fetzer and Mike Palecek, had defamed Mr. Pozner by alleging multiple times in the book that Mr. Pozner had faked his son’s death certificate to promote the conspiracy. The case will now go to a jury to determine damages.

The book’s publisher, Dave Gahary of Moon Rock Books, also agreed to stop selling the book as of June 30 in a separate settlement. He said that after meeting Mr. Pozner in May and hearing his story for himself, he now believes him.

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” Mr. Gahary said. “I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

The ongoing battle by the families of Sandy Hook victims to stop disinformation about the attack shows how persistent conspiracy theories about the massacre remain nearly seven years after one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.

Mr. Pozner is also suing Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars, over his assertions that the massacre was an elaborately staged ruse meant to promote gun control. That case is proceeding in Texas. Separately, another case against Mr. Jones brought by relatives of five children and three adults killed in the shooting, along with one F.B.I. agent who responded to the scene, is proceeding in Connecticut.

In 2016, a Florida woman, Lucy Richards, was sentenced to five months in prison for sending Mr. Pozner death threats. She was also banned from visiting websites run by conspiracy theorists, including Mr. Fetzer’s.

On Monday, lawyers said in court documents in the Connecticut case that Mr. Jones’s legal team had included an image of child pornography as part of his legal filings in that case. Mr. Jones denied the allegation, calling it an attempt to frame him.

The legal challenge in Wisconsin focused on Mr. Fetzer, a retired professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, who lives in Dane County, Wis., and has been asserting for years that the Sandy Hook killings were staged. Along with his co-editor, Mr. Fetzer has also advanced conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 attacks, John F. Kennedy’s assassination and other events. He is alleged to have zeroed in on Mr. Pozner as being involved in the conspiracy, leading Mr. Pozner to experience harassment and threats.

To prove the case, Mr. Pozner’s legal team provided a certified copy of Noah’s death certificate, as well as DNA evidence from the Connecticut medical examiner showing that he was Noah’s father, said his lawyer, Jake Zimmerman.

Judge Remington said there was no question of fact in dispute, and ruled in favor of Mr. Pozner in the libel case, allowing it to proceed to a jury to consider a penalty.

Mr. Fetzer and Mr. Palecek are representing themselves in the lawsuit. Mr. Fetzer, in an email, restated his belief that Noah’s death certificate was faked. “The American people are entitled to know the truth about their own history,” he said.

Mr. Pozner, 51, said he lives in hiding because of ongoing harassment by Sandy Hook hoaxers. Noah was also survived by his mother, Veronique De La Rosa, a twin sister, Arielle, now 13, and an older sister, Sophia, 14.

Mr. Pozner had also sued the book’s publisher, Moon Rock Books, which is part of a broader company, Wrongs Without Wremedies, LLC. But its principal officer, Mr. Gahary, said Tuesday that after listening to Mr. Pozner’s 15-hour deposition, he no longer had any doubt that Mr. Pozner had truly lost his son.

“I came away from that believing that he was telling the truth,” Mr. Gahary said in an interview. “And I felt personally bad for anything that I had done to contribute to his misery.”

Mr. Gahary, who has published multiple conspiracy volumes, said that he has been swamped with hate mail since his change of heart became public, including from Sandy Hook deniers who have accused him of betrayal. He said he hoped to send them a message.

“If someone like me is saying that I believe him,” he said, “it should carry some weight, and they should look at this event differently.”

Father of Sandy Hook massacre victim wins defamation lawsuit

Source Link: The Guardian

Traped-in-a-Hoax-thumb.png

The father of a victim of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book that claimed the shooting never happened; the latest victory for victims’ relatives who have been taking a more aggressive stance against conspiracy theorists.

The book, Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, has also been pulled from shelves to settle claims against its publisher filed by Lenny Pozner, whose six-year-old son, Noah, was killed in the shooting.

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr Pozner have led me to believe that Mr Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” Dave Gahary, the principal officer at publisher Moon Rock Books, said on Monday. “I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

A Wisconsin judge issued a summary judgment on Monday against authors James Fetzer and Mike Palacek, a ruling that was separate from the settlement between Pozner and the book’s publisher. A trial to decide damages has been set for October.

Pozner has been pushing back for years against hoaxers who have harassed him, subjected him to death threats and claimed that he was an actor and his son never existed. He has spent years getting Facebook and others to remove conspiracy videos and set up a website to debunk conspiracy theories.

Lately, the fight has been joined by others who lost relatives in the 14 December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. After quietly enduring harassment and ridiculous assertions for years, some have changed their approach, deciding the only way to stop it is to confront it. Their efforts have turned the tables on the hoaxers, including Alex Jones, host of the conspiracy-driven Infowars website.

Pozner is the lead plaintiff in several of at least nine cases filed against Sandy Hook deniers in federal and state courts in Connecticut, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin.

In the case against Jones, the families of eight victims and a first responder say they have been subjected to harassment and death threats from his followers. A Connecticut judge ruled in the defamation case that Jones must undergo a sworn deposition, which is scheduled for July in Texas.

On Monday lawyers for the families disclosed that child pornography was found in electronic files sent to them by Jones as part of the discovery process. An attorney for Jones said the pornography was in emails sent to his client that were never opened.

Wisconsin’s Dane county circuit judge Frank Remington ruled on Monday that Pozner had been defamed by Fetzer and Palacek, whose book claimed, among other things, that Noah’s death certificate had been faked, according to Pozner’s lawyer, Jake Zimmerman.

“If Mr Fetzer wants to believe that Sandy Hook never happened and that we are all crisis actors, even that my son never existed, he has the right to be wrong. But he doesn’t have the right to broadcast those beliefs if they defame me or harass me,” Pozner said. “He doesn’t have the right to use my baby’s image or our name as a marketing ploy to raise donations or sell his products. He doesn’t have the right to convince others to hunt my family.”

Pozner has had DNA samples taken and compared with those provided by the Connecticut medical examiner to prove that Noah was his son. He has put Noah’s birth certificate, report cards and medical records into the public file in his legal actions.

His goal, he says, is to make sure that “normal people” have access to the truth and are not persuaded by the hoaxers.

The Times view on a victory for Sandy Hook father Lenny Pozner: The Paranoid Style

Source Link: The Times London

Lenny.png

Democratic societies protect freedom of speech but must be vigilant in defence of truth. They cannot afford to allow malign conspiracy theories to insinuate themselves into public debate without vigorous challenge. A legal case in the United States demonstrates how vital that principle is.

In 2012 Lenny Pozner’s son, Noah, was six when he was the youngest of 20 children shot dead, with six adults, in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Mr Pozner’s suffering did not end with this horror. He became the target of conspiracy theorists who claimed the massacre had been staged to promote gun control measures, and that Mr Pozner had faked his son’s death certificate as part of this plot.

A US judge ruled this week that the authors of a book espousing this preposterous thesis defamed Mr Pozner. The obscure publishers have agreed to stop selling the book. Mr Pozner’s action to defend his reputation stands completely vindicated and has a wide relevance.

The book that Mr Pozner complained of is a farrago of nonsense. Its authors, James Fetzer and Mike Palecek, are also proponents of the conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were perpetrated not by Islamist extremists but by the US government, to gain public assent for wars overseas. Mr Fetzer, a retired academic philosopher, has extended his lack of rationality and decency to also deny the Nazi genocide of European Jewry.

It is tempting to argue that no one should take cranks like this seriously. Yet it wasn’t a realistic option for Mr Pozner to ignore them. As well as suffering the agonies of bereavement, he was subjected to harassment and death threats for years as a result of these pitiful fantasies. He was not alone. Jeremy Richman, the father of another child murdered at Sandy Hook, recently took his own life after years of torment by conspiracy theorists. It is vastly to Mr Pozner’s credit that he has fought back against calumnious deceit.

Conspiracies do happen. They have even been perpetrated by western governments: the Suez invasion, the Watergate cover-up and (a scandal in Israeli politics) the Lavon affair are examples. The speed with which these were exposed shows how hard it is to maintain even a simple, let alone a byzantine, conspiracy in the face of a free press.

The most pressing danger for western democracies does not come from these isolated scandals but from an abandonment of critical inquiry. Only this week, the biggest ever study into public attitudes to immunisation, conducted by the Wellcome Trust, demonstrated that mistrust of vaccines against disease is at dangerously high levels. The conspiracy theory that vaccination is an elite plot to control the populace and lacks scientific validation is a threat to public health.

The state propaganda organs of autocratic regimes, notably that of President Putin, routinely churn out these fantasies. It’s their way of covering up state crimes, such as Russia’s assassination of dissidents, and weakening western democracy. They should be given no quarter.

Responsible news outlets have an obligation to expose them, and politicians in turn have a responsibility not to train invective on a questioning media. Anti-western conspiracy theories are not amusing diversions. They have real victims and coarsen public debate. This week one of the bravest of those victims fought back. It is no hyperbole to say that western democratic societies are in his debt.

Familias de Sandy Hook ponen a calumniadores a la defensiva

Source Link: El Vocero de Puerto Rico

El padre de una víctima de la masacre en la escuela primaria Sandy Hook ha ganado un juicio por difamación contra los autores de un libro según el cual la matanza nunca ocurrió y que todo se trató de una farsa. Es la victoria más reciente de las familias de las víctimas, quienes han asumido una posición más proactiva contra los defensores de las teorías conspirativas.

El libro “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook” (Nadie murió en Sandy Hook) fue retirado de la venta en respuesta a la demanda de Lenny Pozner, cuyo hijo Noah, de seis años, murió en la matanza.

“Mis interacciones cara a cara con el señor Pozner me han llevado a creer que el señor Pozner dice la verdad sobre la muerte de su hijo”, afirmó Dave Gahary, gerente general de la editorial Moon Rock Books. “Ofrezco mis más sentidas y sinceras disculpas a la familia Pozner”.

Un juez en Wisconsin emitió un fallo sumario el lunes contra los autores, James Fetzer y Mike Palacek.

Pozner mantiene desde hace años una lucha contra los falsarios que lo acosan, le envían amenazas de muerte y sostienen que es un actor y que su hijo nunca existió.

Ha dedicado años a lograr que Facebook y otras redes eliminen videos de estos difusores de rumores y ha creado un sitio web para refutar las teorías de presuntas conspiraciones.

Últimamente, otros familiares de víctimas de la masacre del 14 de diciembre de 2012 se han sumado a la lucha. Después de soportar acoso y afirmaciones ridículas durante años, algunos han cambiado de actitud al resolver que la única manera de poner fin a los ataques es enfrentarlos. Con ello han devuelto la pelota a los que promueven esas teorías, entre ellos Alex Jones, presentador del sitio web Infowars.

Robbie Parker, cuya hija de seis años Emilie fue uno de los 20 alumnos de primer grado y seis docentes muertos en Sandy Hook, trató durante años de restar importancia a las personas que lo acusaban de ser un actor. Se mudó al otro lado del país, pero el acoso no cesó. Recibía cartas de personas que descubrieron su nueva dirección. En una ocasión, un hombre lo acosó en un estacionamiento.

“Cuando eres joven te enseñan que, si ignoras a los provocadores, finalmente te dejan en paz”, dijo Parker. “Pero al pasar el tiempo y cuando mis otras hijas crecieron, vi que eso no ocurría, sino que empeoraba y se volvía más personal”.

Parker se ha sumado a una demanda contra Jones, ha declarado ante el Congreso e impulsado cambios en redes sociales como YouTube, la que anunció recientemente que prohibirá los videos que niegan la matanza de Sandy Hook y hechos similares que están “bien documentados”.

Father of Sandy Hook Victim Wins Defamation Suit Against ‘Nobody Died at Sandy Hook’ Authors

Journalist: Margeaux Sippell

Source Link: The Wrap

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Lenny Pozner, the father of a 6-year-old Sandy Hook shooting victim, has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors of the book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.”

Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington, in Wisconsin,  issued a summary judgement Monday that the book’s authors, James Fetzer and Mike Palecek, had defamed Pozner. One of their book’s false claims was that the death certificate for Pozner’s son, Noah, had been faked. A trial has been set for October to decide damages.

Pozner went to extraordinary lengths to prove the book wrong: His lawsuit included a redacted copy of the death certificate, and Pozner also provided public access to Noah’s birth certificate, report cards, and medical records, Pozner  told TheWrap. He even took a DNA test to prove that Noah was his son.

“Fetzer claimed that it was fake and phony, and Noah never died and he never lived, and obviously those claims are false,” Pozner said. “A bunch of ridiculous claims, all of that was nonsense. It was proven.”

He stated: “If Mr. Fetzer wants to believe that Sandy Hook never happened and that we are all crisis actors, even that my son never existed, he has the right to be wrong. But he doesn’t have the right to broadcast those beliefs if they defame me or harass me. He doesn’t have the right to use my baby’s image or our name as a marketing ploy to raise donations or sell his products. He doesn’t have the right to convince others to hunt my family.”

The book has also been removed from shelves to settle litigation between Pozner and the publisher, Dave Gahary of Moon Rock Books.

In a statement provided to TheWrap, Gahary said: “I sat across a table from Leonard Pozner for nearly 15 hours during his deposition, another deposition, and other discussions that took place over two days. I looked him in the eyes, listened to his testimony, had frank discussions about our respective concerns, and, in the end, shook his hand. I heard hours of testimony about his experience following the Sandy Hook shooting and the aspects of the event that have caused concerns for me and so many others. After his deposition, I expressed my condolences for the loss of his son, Noah Pozner. My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son. As a result, Moon Rock Books has decided to discontinue publishing and selling ‘Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.’ I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

Asked whether he thinks the removal of the book will put a stop to the harassment he and his family have faced from conspiracy theorists, Pozner told TheWrap: “This will not end the harassment. Taking the book down will not change people’s opinion, but my objective was to take the book down.”

Pozner has also sued InfoWars radio host Alex Jones in Texas, accusing him of defamation. Other parents of Sandy Hook victims have also filed lawsuits against Jones, and against other conspiracy theorists.

The families said that Jones’ followers have harassed them and issued death threats based on the content of Jones’ program, which has fueled a conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shooting was a “false flag” to build up opposition to guns.

Since his initial fueling of the conspiracy theory, Jones has said he believes the shooting did occur, according to the Associated Press.

Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults in the December 2012 attack.

In court papers filed Monday, attorneys representing Sandy Hook families in their suit against Jones said that child pornography was identified in discovery materials provided by him. The filing also accuses Jones of threatening one of the attorneys.

Jones has denied any knowledge of the pornographic materials and says that unnamed individuals are trying to frame him. He has also denied making any threats.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

“Nobody Died at Sandy Hook” publisher apologizes to dad of murdered boy

Source Link: CBS

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The father of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book that claimed the shooting never happened — the latest victory for victims’ relatives who have been taking a more aggressive stance against conspiracy theorists.

The book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” has also been pulled to settle claims against its publisher filed by Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was killed in the shooting.

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” Dave Gahary, the principal officer at publisher Moon Rock Books, said Monday. “I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

A judge in Wisconsin on Monday issued a summary judgment against authors James Fetzer and Mike Palacek.

Pozner has been pushing back for years against hoaxers who have harassed him, subjected him to death threats and claimed that he was an actor and his son never existed. He has spent years getting Facebook and others to remove conspiracy videos and set up a website to debunk conspiracy theories.

Lately, the fight has been joined by others who lost relatives in the Dec. 14, 2012, school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. After quietly enduring harassment and ridiculous assertions for years, some have changed their approach, deciding the only way to stop it is to confront it. Their efforts have turned the tables on the hoaxers, including Alex Jones, host of the conspiracy-driven Infowars website.

Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old daughter Emilie was among 20 first-graders and six educators killed at Sandy Hook, spent years ignoring people who called him a crisis actor. His family moved to the West Coast, but still the harassment didn’t stop. He would get letters from people who found his address. He was once stopped in a parking garage by a man who berated him and said the shooting never happened.

“You are taught when you are young that you ignore bullies and eventually they will leave you alone,” Parker said. “But as time went on, and my other girls were getting older, I realized they weren’t stopping and some of this was getting worse and getting more personal.”

Parker is now part of a lawsuit against Jones, has testified before Congress and pushed for changes on social media platforms, such as YouTube, which announced this month it will prohibit videos that deny the Sandy Hook shooting and other “well-documented events.”

“It wasn’t until the lawsuits and until it became a mainstream news story that people realized they were being complicit in this and started to moderate the content,” Parker said.

Pozner is the lead plaintiff in several of at least nine cases filed against Sandy Hook deniers in federal and state courts in Connecticut, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin.

In the case against Jones, the families of eight victims and a first responder say they’ve been subjected to harassment and death threats from his followers. A Connecticut judge ruled in the defamation case that Jones must undergo a sworn deposition, which is scheduled for July in Texas.

Wisconsin’s Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington ruled Monday that Pozner had been defamed by Fetzer and Palacek, whose book claimed, among other things, that Noah’s death certificate had been faked, according to Pozner’s lawyer, Jake Zimmerman. A trial to decide damages has been set for October.

“If Mr. Fetzer wants to believe that Sandy Hook never happened and that we are all crisis actors, even that my son never existed, he has the right to be wrong. But he doesn’t have the right to broadcast those beliefs if they defame me or harass me,” Pozner said. “He doesn’t have the right to use my baby’s image or our name as a marketing ploy to raise donations or sell his products. He doesn’t have the right to convince others to hunt my family.”

Before the case went to a judge, Fetzer had said “evidence clearly shows this wasn’t a massacre, it was a FEMA drill.”

“If you believe otherwise, then you are being played,” Fetzer said at the time.

A redacted copy of the actual death certificate is attached to Pozner’s lawsuit. Additionally, Pozner has had DNA samples taken and compared with those provided by the Connecticut medical examiner to prove that Noah was his son. He has put Noah’s birth certificate, report cards and medical records into the public file in his legal actions.

Father Of Sandy Hook Victim Wins Defamation Suit Against Authors Of Conspiracy Theory Book

Journalist: Sharon Lynn Pruitt

 Source Link: Oxygen

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A man whose son was killed during the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School emerged victorious this week from a legal battle with conspiracy theorists who adamantly claim the massacre, which resulted in the deaths of 20 first-graders and six school employees, never happened.

A Wisconsin judge overseeing the defamation lawsuit ruled on Monday in favor of Lenny Pozner, a father whose 6-year-old son, Noah, was a victim of the shooting, and issued a summary judgment against James Fetzer and Mike Palacek, co-authors of a conspiracy theory book, the Associated Press reports.

Pozner’s lawyer, Jake Zimmerman, claimed that the book in question — “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook” — defamed Pozner by suggesting that his son’s death certificate had been falsified, among other things, according to the outlet.

“If Mr. Fetzer wants to believe that Sandy Hook never happened and that we are all crisis actors, even that my son never existed, he has the right to be wrong. But he doesn’t have the right to broadcast those beliefs if they defame me or harass me,” Pozner said, according to the Associated Press. “He doesn’t have the right to use my baby’s image or our name as a marketing ploy to raise donations or sell his products. He doesn’t have the right to convince others to hunt my family.”

Damages have yet to be awarded; a trial to decide the final amount is scheduled for October, according to the AP report.

In a separate settlement, the book’s publisher, Moon Rock Books, agreed to pull the offensive title, with principal officer Dave Gahary issuing an apology to Pozner on Monday, the outlet reports.

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” he said. “I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

The case is one of many for Pozner, who is listed as the lead plaintiff in several federal and state cases that the families of Sandy Hook victims have filed against conspiracy theorists in Connecticut, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin in recent years, according to the Associated Press.

A number of suits involve Alex Jones, host of the controversial conspiracy theory website Infowars and who has long claimed that the tragic shooting was a hoax. Family members of the victims, including Pozner, banded together last year to file multiple defamation suits accusing the radio show host of causing “intense emotional anguish” by repeatedly claiming that the families were crisis actors participating in a widespread conspiracy, BuzzFeed reports.

Bill Ogden, a lawyer representing parents involved in both cases, told BuzzFeed News last year that Jones’ antics have made things hard on his clients.

“For the last five-and-a-half years since they have had to bury their children, Infowars and Alex Jones have repeatedly and continuously called them liars, called them crisis actors, and have made them re-live what they’ve had to go through. As a parent, it takes a toll on you,” Ogden said.

Jones changed his tune during a sworn deposition released in March, The Hill reports. He admitted then that “a lot of times things aren’t staged” and blamed his earlier statements that suggested otherwise on “a form of psychosis.”

The legal battle between Jones and the Sandy Hook families is ongoing, with lawyers for the plaintiffs recently claiming that child pornography was found in electronic files sent to them by Jones as part of the discovery process. An attorney for Jones said the pornography was in emails sent to his client that were never opened.

Jones responded by claiming he’d been set up and offering a million dollars to any one of his listeners who could find proof of that for him, according to BuzzFeed.

Newtown parents score a win in growing fight against hoaxers

Journalist: Pat Eaton-Robb

Source Link: ABC News

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The father of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book that claimed the shooting never happened — the latest victory for victims’ relatives who have been taking a more aggressive stance against conspiracy theorists.

The book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” has also been pulled from shelves to settle claims against its publisher filed by Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was killed in the shooting.

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” Dave Gahary, the principal officer at publisher Moon Rock Books, said Monday. “I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

A Wisconsin judge issued a summary judgment Monday against authors James Fetzer and Mike Palacek, a ruling that was separate from the settlement between Pozner and the book’s publisher. A trial to decide damages has been set for October.

Pozner has been pushing back for years against hoaxers who have harassed him, subjected him to death threats and claimed that he was an actor and his son never existed. He has spent years getting Facebook and others to remove conspiracy videos and set up a website to debunk conspiracy theories.

Lately, the fight has been joined by others who lost relatives in the Dec. 14, 2012, school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. After quietly enduring harassment and ridiculous assertions for years, some have changed their approach, deciding the only way to stop it is to confront it. Their efforts have turned the tables on the hoaxers, including Alex Jones , host of the conspiracy-driven Infowars website.

Victims’ families scored another victory Tuesday when a Connecticut judge imposed sanctions on Jones for an outburst on his web show against one of the families’ lawyers.

Judge Barbara Bellis on Tuesday ordered the Infowars host to pay some of the relatives’ legal fees and prohibited him from filing motions to dismiss their defamation lawsuit against him.

The families of several of the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 shooting are suing Jones, Infowars and others for promoting the hoax theory.

Jones made angry comments on his show Friday about a lawyer for the families, accusing him of trying to frame him by planting child pornography in documents Jones’ attorneys submitted to the families’ lawyers.

Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old daughter Emilie was among those killed at Sandy Hook, spent years ignoring people who called him a crisis actor. His family moved to the West Coast, but still the harassment didn’t stop. He would get letters from people who found his address. He was once stopped in a parking garage by a man who berated him and said the shooting never happened.

“You are taught when you are young that you ignore bullies and eventually they will leave you alone,” Parker said. “But as time went on, and my other girls were getting older, I realized they weren’t stopping and some of this was getting worse and getting more personal.”

Parker is now part of a lawsuit against Jones, has testified before Congress and pushed for changes on social media platforms, such as YouTube, which announced this month it will prohibit videos that deny the Sandy Hook shooting and other “well-documented events.”

“It wasn’t until the lawsuits and until it became a mainstream news story that people realized they were being complicit in this and started to moderate the content,” Parker said.

Pozner is the lead plaintiff in several of at least nine cases filed against Sandy Hook deniers in federal and state courts in Connecticut, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin.

In the case against Jones, the families of eight victims and a first responder say they’ve been subjected to harassment and death threats from his followers. A Connecticut judge ruled in the defamation case that Jones must undergo a sworn deposition, which is scheduled for July in Texas.

On Monday lawyers for the families disclosed that child pornography was found in electronic files sent to them by Jones as part of the discovery process. An attorney for Jones said the pornography was in emails sent to his client that were never opened.

Wisconsin’s Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington ruled Monday that Pozner had been defamed by Fetzer and Palacek, whose book claimed, among other things, that Noah’s death certificate had been faked, according to Pozner’s lawyer, Jake Zimmerman.

“If Mr. Fetzer wants to believe that Sandy Hook never happened and that we are all crisis actors, even that my son never existed, he has the right to be wrong. But he doesn’t have the right to broadcast those beliefs if they defame me or harass me,” Pozner said. “He doesn’t have the right to use my baby’s image or our name as a marketing ploy to raise donations or sell his products. He doesn’t have the right to convince others to hunt my family.”

Before the case went to a judge, Fetzer had said “evidence clearly shows this wasn’t a massacre, it was a FEMA drill,” referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“If you believe otherwise, then you are being played,” Fetzer, a Wisconsin resident, said at the time.

A redacted copy of the actual death certificate is attached to Pozner’s lawsuit. Additionally, Pozner has had DNA samples taken and compared with those provided by the Connecticut medical examiner to prove that Noah was his son. He has put Noah’s birth certificate, report cards and medical records into the public file in his legal actions.

His goal, he says, is to make sure that “normal people” have access to the truth and aren’t persuaded by the hoaxers.

A Florida woman, Lucy Richards, was sentenced to five months in prison for sending Pozner death threats. She was also banned from visiting web sites run by conspiracy theorists, including Fetzer.

Christopher Mattei, a lawyer who represents the families in their Connecticut lawsuit against Jones, said his clients want to live their lives free from that kind of harassment. They also want these hoaxers to know they are affecting real people, who have already been emotionally devastated.

“When the grief process includes having to justify your grief or having to prove your child’s existence,” he said, “it makes it very difficult.”

https://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=63815407

2 legal wins for Sandy Hook parents in battles against conspiracy theorists

Journalist: Meghan Keneally

Source Link: ABC News

The deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 rocked the country and devastated parents both in the small Connecticut community where it happened and across the country.

The parents of the victims have repeatedly tried to fight back against those who have made various unfounded claims about the tragedy, and one parent got a win in court this week.

Larry Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah died in the shooting that killed 26, filed a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book titled, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.” A court ruled in his favor Monday.

The Associated Press reported that a Wisconsin judge issued a summary judgement against the book’s authors James Fetzer and Mike Palacek, though any settlement between the book’s publisher and Pozner will be separate and a trial is set for October to decide damages.

Pozner released a statement to ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast, calling the decision “a victory for truth and decency.”

“Today marks an important turning point for victims of hoaxers and online harassers. Unimpeded conspiracy theories erase history. They dehumanize victims. People like Fetzer who hide behind their computer screen and terrorize people grappling with the most unimagined grief were put on notice today,” Pozner said.

Dave Gahary, the principal officer of the book’s publisher Moon Rock Books, said that his “face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” the AP reported.

Anna Merlan, a journalist and the author of “Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power,” told “Start Here” that the fight against conspiracy theorists started on a smaller level.

“Lenny Posner will tell you that he started out simply asking people to try to consider how hurtful it was for him and other parents to hear this,” Merlan said, adding that the fight also included “trying to get them to stop using his family photos.”

Another man, whose statements about the shooting have made him a thorn in the side of some Sandy Hook parents, was also reprimanded in court this week. 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.

A judge ruled that Jones is now prohibited from filing motions to dismiss the defamation lawsuits filed against him, the AP said.

Truth prevails: Sandy Hook father’s victory over conspiracy theory crackpots

Source Link: Homeland Security News

Noah Pozner, then 6-year old, was the youngest of twenty children and staff killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Last week, his father, Lenny Pozner, won an important court victory against conspiracy theorists who claimed the massacre had been staged by the Obama administration to promote gun control measures. The crackpots who wrote a book advancing this preposterous theory also claimed that Pozner had faked his son’s death certificate as part of this plot.

Noah Pozner, then 6-year old, was the youngest of twenty children and staff killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Last week, his father, Lenny Pozner, won an important court victory against conspiracy theorists who claimed the massacre had been staged by the Obama administration to promote gun control measures. The crackpots who wrote a book advancing this preposterous theory also claimed that Pozner had faked his son’s death certificate as part of this plot.

In an editorial on the subject, the Times of London wrote that “Conspiracy theories debase democracy, coarsen debate and defame innocent victims,” adding: “Mr. Pozner’s action to defend his reputation stands completely vindicated and has a wide relevance.”

Here is the Times’s editorial:

Democratic societies protect freedom of speech but must be vigilant in defense of truth. They cannot afford to allow malign conspiracy theories to insinuate themselves into public debate without vigorous challenge. A legal case in the United States demonstrates how vital that principle is.

In 2012 Lenny Pozner’s son, Noah, was six when he was the youngest of 20 children shot dead, with six adults, in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Mr. Pozner’s suffering did not end with this horror. He became the target of conspiracy theorists who claimed the massacre had been staged to promote gun control measures, and that Mr. Pozner had faked his son’s death certificate as part of this plot.

A U.S. judge ruled this week that the authors of a book espousing this preposterous thesis defamed Mr. Pozner. The obscure publishers have agreed to stop selling the book. Mr. Pozner’s action to defend his reputation stands completely vindicated and has a wide relevance.

The book that Mr. Pozner complained of is a farrago of nonsense. Its authors, James Fetzer and Mike Palecek, are also proponents of the conspiracy theory that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were perpetrated not by Islamist extremists but by the US government, to gain public assent for wars overseas. Mr. Fetzer, a retired academic philosopher, has extended his lack of rationality and decency to also deny the Nazi genocide of European Jewry.

It is tempting to argue that no one should take cranks like this seriously. Yet it wasn’t a realistic option for Mr. Pozner to ignore them. As well as suffering the agonies of bereavement, he was subjected to harassment and death threats for years as a result of these pitiful fantasies. He was not alone. Jeremy Richman, the father of another child murdered at Sandy Hook, recently took his own life after years of torment by conspiracy theorists. It is vastly to Mr. Pozner’s credit that he has fought back against calumnious deceit.

Conspiracies do happen. They have even been perpetrated by western governments: the Suez invasion, the Watergate cover-up and (a scandal in Israeli politics) the Lavon affair are examples. The speed with which these were exposed shows how hard it is to maintain even a simple, let alone a byzantine, conspiracy in the face of a free press.

The most pressing danger for western democracies does not come from these isolated scandals but from an abandonment of critical inquiry. Only this week, the biggest ever study into public attitudes to immunization, conducted by the Wellcome Trust, demonstrated that mistrust of vaccines against disease is at dangerously high levels. The conspiracy theory that vaccination is an elite plot to control the populace and lacks scientific validation is a threat to public health.

The state propaganda organs of autocratic regimes, notably that of President Putin, routinely churn out these fantasies. It’s their way of covering up state crimes, such as Russia’s assassination of dissidents, and weakening western democracy. They should be given no quarter.

Responsible news outlets have an obligation to expose them, and politicians in turn have a responsibility not to train invective on a questioning media. Anti-western conspiracy theories are not amusing diversions. They have real victims and coarsen public debate. This week one of the bravest of those victims fought back. It is no hyperbole to say that Western democratic societies are in his debt.

Sandy Hook conspiracy gnats finally face justice. But nothing else has changed.

Journalist: Kevin McDermott

Source Link: St Louis Post Dispatch

In a world plagued by human monsters like the shooter who killed 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, James Fetzer and Mike Palecek might more accurately be described as gnats. Or maybe mosquitoes.

These two “authors” wrote a book titled “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” pushing that putrid conspiracy theory. They alleged, as their fellow insects have, that the Dec. 14, 2012, school shooting in Newtown, Conn., never happened. They claimed it was staged to promote gun control, that the children were actors who didn’t actually die, that their grieving parents are unrelated stand-ins perpetuating the hoax.

The book claims Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah died at Sandy Hook, isn’t actually the boy’s father and that he forged the death certificate. Sandy Hook parents have quietly put up with this kind of sewage from the nether reaches of kook-land for years, but some are now pushing back. Pozner sued for defamation, won a settlement from the publisher, and a judge last week issued a summary judgment against the authors, with damages yet to be determined.

In another satisfying bit of justice last week, Alex Jones, the Infowars founder, early Sandy Hook conspiracy promoter and all-around cockroach, was sanctioned by the judge in a separate defamation suit and ordered to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees. This was after an on-air rant in which Jones accused the attorney of “planting” the child pornography that turned up in Jones’ computerized documents during the proceedings. Yeah, right.

(Jones, it should be noted, counts among his admirers President Donald Trump, who has appeared on his show and once beamed to him, “Your reputation is amazing!” Another shining example of our Dear Leader’s flawless judgment of character.)

Bad-faith denial of horrific crimes is nothing new; the evil phenomenon of Holocaust denial goes back more than 70 years. And Sandy Hook isn’t the only modern mass shooting to draw the gnats. But it has drawn them more consistently than the others, with the parents trailed by harassment and even death threats for years.

It’s another depressing reminder of how inhuman some humans can be. But it also speaks to the mind-boggling details of this particular tragedy, which almost do feel like dark fiction. It wasn’t the worst shooting in terms of numbers, but it remains the one that, more than the rest, prompts the devastating thought: If this didn’t change things, nothing will.

If someone were to design a tragedy for the specific purpose of rousing America from its gun-addled stupor to finally create sane national gun policies, it would look like Sandy Hook. The 20 children who died along with six adults were the most innocent victims imaginable, their small bodies ripped by an arsenal that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a battlefield.

The shooter (I won’t use his name, and no one should) took the weapons from his mother, who, though clearly a gun stockpiler, was scrupulously law-abiding about it. The semiautomatic rifle, handguns and high-capacity magazines her son gathered up were all purchased legally. Which indicates that, had some of those items not been legal to buy, the mother probably wouldn’t have had them on hand for her son to take. So much for the National Rifle Association’s nonsensical claim that gun laws can’t prevent shootings.

Due to a truly bizarre coincidence, Sandy Hook also demolishes the ridiculous NRA trope that “guns don’t kill, people kill.” There was another attack against schoolchildren on the same day, in Chenpeng village, China, where firearms are restricted. So the attacker had to settle for using a knife. Twenty-two young children were wounded — just wounded — while almost as many of their American counterparts in Connecticut died. So much for the trope.

Yet seven years and many mass shootings later, nothing has changed. Federal law regarding firearms today is essentially what it was on the morning after Sandy Hook, when Lenny Pozner and his fellow grieving parents awoke to a world that, for them, would never be the same.

The most important freedom we have, the one without which all other freedoms are meaningless, is freedom of speech. But even that foundational freedom has limits, as the Sandy Hook conspiracy gnats are learning. It’s been long established that the First Amendment, despite its unambiguous language about free speech, doesn’t protect defamation.

Yet the NRA and its congressional minions continue to insist that the ambiguous language of the Second Amendment — language that, on its face, appears to predicate the right to bear arms on the formation of state militias — is instead virtually boundless; that even the most common-sense forms of gun control, like universal background checks, assault-weapons bans and magazine limits, are intrinsically unworkable and automatically unconstitutional; that this obstinate stance is philosophically necessary, no matter how many first graders it costs. And that’s the real hoax.

Lenny Pozner, Sandy Hook Victim’s Father, Wins Defamation Suit Against Publishers Which Claimed Shooting Was Faked

Journalist: Pablo Mena

Source Link: U Politics

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Lenny Pozner, the father of a child murdered in the 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, won a defamation lawsuit Monday against the publishers of a book who said the tragedy never occurred.

A Wisconsin judge ruled in favor of Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was among the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

Publisher Moon Rock Books apologized to Pozner and stated it would pull Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, which was written by Mike Palacek and James Fetzer. 

Fetzer had previously alleged that “evidence clearly shows this wasn’t a massacre, it was a FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] drill.”

Fetzer is one of many conspiracy theorists who claim Sandy Hook was a staged incident with “crisis actors” posing as the students and teachers to push for more gun control. Right-wing commentator Alex Jones of Infowars is one other such conspiracy theorists who has been mired in a lawsuit against many of the deceased children’s parents after first claiming in 2016 that the massacre was fabricated. The parents of the victims have received countless death threats and faced other types of harassment.

“Twitter has allowed their platform to be used as a weapon of mass destruction for which they must take accountability.” -Lenny Pozner, who lost his six-year old son in the Sandy Hook shooting.https://t.co/tcDIi0VFfz

— Alex Whitcomb (@AlexWhitcomb) May 8, 2019

A trial to determine precise damages from Fetzer and Palacek against Pozner has been set for October.

In the latest development surrounding the legal battle between the shooting victims’ parents and Jones, child pornography electronic files were found this week among the court records Jones’ lawyers sent to the legal team for the Sandy Hook parents. Jones claimed these damaging documents are simply an attempt to set him up.

The recent court victory against the Sandy Hook deniers has a Saintly City connection

Journalist: Ruben Rosario 

Source Link: Twin Cities Pioneer Press

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Imagine this real nightmare scenario:

You are the father of the youngest victim of the 2012 mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut — the worst school-related massacre of its kind in American history.

It was a day when the dad, Lenny Pozner, dropped off three of his kids at school and went home with just two of them. The other was transported in a body bag to the city morgue. Let that sink in for a moment.

But you did not get enough time to grieve. Soon after you buried your son, a small but extremely active group of demented and delusional conspiracy theory souls opined the incident was faked and part of a government and multi-layered liberal conspiracy to attack the Second Amendment.

They accused Pozner and other Sandy Hook parents on social media and other venues as being paid “crisis actors” who made up their kids.

One hoax groupie, Lucy Richards from Florida, actually threatened Pozner’s life several times caught on audio and was later prosecuted and sentenced two years ago to a five-month prison term.

But the pinnacle of this outlandish crusade was the publication in 2015 of “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook: It was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control.”

The 400-plus-page book, which was sold on Amazon for two weeks before it was pulled, argued the event was faked. It also theorized  Pozner was not who he really was and that he falsified the death certificate of his 6-year-old son, Noah — a boy whose jaw was blown off when he was shot by school gunman Adam Lanza, according to the medical examiner autopsy report.

It went on to postulate that Noah was not only not Pozner’s kid, but that the boy was made up and never existed, according to court documents.

Instead of ignoring the conspiratorial yo-yos, as other grieving parents initially did, Pozner got his Brooklyn ire up and pushed back. In addition to forcing social media sites like Facebook and others to pull hoaxer sites, family pictures and comments, he formed HONR.

The site is composed of a group of tech-savvy volunteers seeking to expose lies and targeting the extremist community of people who purvey the idea that Sandy Hook was a hoax.

Of course, that made the divorced IT consultant and father more of a target and prompted a few relocations across the country. But push more he did, primarily to defend and honor his murdered son’s legacy.

He also began shopping nationally for a lawyer to file a defamation lawsuit against the co-authors of the inflammatory book. The lead author is James Fetzer, a retired University of Minnesota-Duluth college professor living in Wisconsin who, in a conspiracy blog,  once tied the school shootings to the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence and counterterrorism agency.

Pozner ended up selecting Jake Zimmerman, a St. Paul native, Central High School and University of Minnesota Law School grad who had never litigated a defamation case before in a 16-year legal career mostly specializing in high-tech, semiconductor patent litigation and some personal injury cases.

“Jake and I talked about my situation and my experiences,” Pozner told me this week. “He really listened and took the time to address my concerns. I liked his approach for this case and his general philosophy about litigation.”

Pozner’s choice paid off.

Last week, six months after the suit was filed, Wisconsin Dane County circuit judge Frank Remington ruled that, indeed, Pozner had been defamed by Fetzer and his co-author Mike Palecek. The book publisher, Moon Rock Books, had previously settled and later publicly apologized to Pozner.  A jury trial to assess punitive and compensatory damages is scheduled for October.

“If Mr.  Fetzer wants to believe that Sandy Hook never happened and that we are all crisis actors and even that my son never existed, he has the right to be wrong,” Pozner told reporters in a prepared statement after the ruling.

“But he doesn’t have the right to broadcast those beliefs if they defame me or harass me,” Pozner added. “He doesn’t have the right to use my baby’s image or our name as a marketing ploy to raise donations or sell his products. He doesn’t have the right to convince others to hunt my family.”

Fetzer, who still uses a University of Minnesota email address that describes him as a “distinguished” McKnight emeritus professor though he retired in 2006, disagreed with the decision.

“My day in Court did not turn out as expected,” he tweeted. “ Even though I was able to produce decisive proof of the death certificate published in (the book) is a fabrication — because it lacks certification — the Judge ruled against me.”

Please. Stop the nonsense. Have a heart. Smell the coffee, say 100 Hail Marys and Our Fathers for penance and then go away and get a life. Now ask me how I really feel.

Like most of us, attorney Jake Zimmerman watched the TV coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 children, most just a tad older than his own at the time, and six staffers, with a sense of stomach-churning angst.

“It was just insanity. Then, the fact that there are people out there denying the opportunity to grieve just seemed morally wrong and so I decided to take the case,” Zimmerman told me.

He caught the socially conscious legal eagle bug early in adolescence growing up in a Saintly City household where his mother hosted dinners and gatherings attended by longtime family friends and attorneys Bill Tilton and the late Ron Rosenbaum.

The passionate back and forth conversations and debates on legal and social matters “got heated but they were never personal attacks. They were focused on the merits of the arguments,” he recalled. “They took on pro bono cases. They worked hard for causes they believed in.”

He credits his eight-year stint at the Minneapolis-based Robins Kaplan law firm as great affirmation for his career pursuit before he decided to found a law firm of his own a few years ago.

Along with three other lawyers admitted to practice in Wisconsin, including his wife, Zimmerman removed emotions from the case and launched his own independent probe into Fetzer’s allegations in the book. He ordered his own copy of the book as well as Noah’s birth and death certificates and autopsy report.

He also obtained Noah’s pediatric medical records going back to the day Noah and his twin sister were born at Danbury Hospital.

“We submitted evidence of what their temperatures were at the time of birth, what their heartbeat rates were when they first passed urine,” Zimmerman said.

For Pozner, the lawsuit was never about money. It was about having a court legally acknowledge that his son, Noah, the one who did not return home that fateful day seven years ago, was a real boy who was murdered.

It was the first legal court victory in an ongoing and pending slew of similar lawsuits filed in Texas by Pozner and other Sandy Hook parents against Alex Jones and his InfoWars cable TV program. Jones had also heavily promoted and spun the Sandy Hook fake conspiracy theory in recent years until he was finally confronted with legal pushback and attributed his views to “psychosis.”

As Pozner shared in an email, “hoaxers have posted my address, social security number, and other private information online. They have posted videos of my home, with crosshairs aimed at my balcony. I have two surviving children. It’s terrifying that people would threaten me and my family because of things that are published by Fetzer and other hoaxers.”

“I am gratified that by pursuing this case, not only have I won a victory for Noah and for my family, I have also helped to establish a precedent that may make it easier for other victims to seek justice in court,” he said.

Zimmerman noted that the ruling had ripple effects that resonated beyond Pozner and those directly impacted by the Sandy Hook shootings.

He got a call from a Danbury Hospital records clerk who wanted to let him know that staffers inside watching a TV report on the Wisconsin ruling “stood up and spontaneously applauded” at the breaking news.

Zimmerman was humbled and touched by the reaction.

“Their lives have been so impacted by these people,” he said. “Conspiracy theorists show up in town, start looking through documents and making accusations, and it impacts on the ability of the people there to grieve.

“We don’t normally think of a town as being injured. They did not lose all their kids,” Zimmerman added. “But they really have been injured by this event. It’s incredibly difficult to move on when someone shows up in town every couple of weeks and says you guys are all in on this conspiracy, that you guys are all crisis actors and you are all getting paid.”

Father of Sandy Hook Victim Wins Defamation Lawsuit

Journalist:  Brianna Smith

Source Link: Legal Reader

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A defamation suit came to a close earlier this week when a Wisconsin judge sided with Lenny Pozner, the father of a 6-year-old boy killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The suit was originally filed against Moon Rock Books, “the publishers of the book that claimed the 2012 massacre never happened.” Pozner’s son, Noah, was one of the 26 people who died during the shooting.

The book that claimed the shooting never happened was titled ‘Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.” It was written by Mike Palacek and James Fetzer. In the book, Palacek and Fetzer argued the deadly school shooting was nothing more than a FEMA drill. In fact, Fetzer claimed in the past that “evidence clearly shows this wasn’t a massacre, it was a FEMA drill.” Additionally, lawyers for Pozner argued during the litigation process that the book itself defamed Pozner, his family, and the memory of his son because the book stated “Noah’s death certificate was faked.”

When commenting on the case and the book, Pozner said:

“If Mr. Fetzer wants to believe that Sandy Hook never happened and that we are all crisis actors, even that my son never existed, he has the right to be wrong. But he doesn’t have the right to broadcast those beliefs if they defame me or harass me. He doesn’t have the right to use my baby’s image or our name as a marketing ploy to raise donations or sell his products. He doesn’t have the right to convince others to hunt my family.”

In response to the case and recent settlement, Dave Gahary, the principal officer at Moon Rock Books said:

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son. I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

This isn’t the first time a suit of this nature has been filed. In fact, many Sandy Hook families have filed multiple lawsuits against other conspiracy theorists throughout Connecticut, Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin. In total, nine cases have been filed against Sandy Hook deniers

One of the leading conspiracy theorists was Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars. Shortly after the shooting occurred, he said, “I’ve watched a lot of soap operas, and I’ve seen actors before. And I know when I’m watching a movie and when I’m watching something real.”

However, earlier this year during a sworn deposition he finally acknowledged the shooting did, in fact, occur and claimed a “form of psychosis made him question whether certain events were staged.”

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