First reported here, and thanks to the reporter, Sebastian Murdock, for sharing the court order. (It’s often difficult to obtain these from state trial courts, and in this case it was even harder as the court’s e-filing system is down for a few days.)
The court is granting a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs without having had a trial or considering the uncontested evidence. That normally only happens if the defendants completely fail to show up. Here, the judge did it because Jones was refusing to comply with discovery. That basically means they weren’t turning over emails, recordings, and other documents the plaintiffs are entitled to get in order to prepare for trial. Discovery abuses are pretty common, but not at this level; it’s very rare for a court to grant default as a sanction like this. I would have expected the court to put more details into the background and findings, explaining those abuses and the failure of lesser sanctions in more detail, but it still seems like a solid order to me.
Jones is screwed. The next step, I believe, is a jury trial to determine the exact amount of damages he will owe. He’s been pleading poverty on his show (listen to the excellent Knowledge Fight podcast for more), so if that’s true–though only a fool would take Alex Jones his word–this is going to be ruinous for him.
We can only hope.
Litigating against malicious misinformation like Jones’s is a two-edged sword. This is a relatively rare example of a case that is effectively punishing abusive speech without treading on constitutional protections. Best of luck to the plaintiffs here.