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Sandy Hook father awarded $450,000 from defamation suit

Leonard Pozner, whose son 6-year-old Noah was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, was awarded $450,000 in damages by a Wisconsin jury from a defamation l...

Posted: Oct 17, 2019 3:41 AM
Updated: Oct 17, 2019 3:48 AM

Leonard Pozner, whose son 6-year-old Noah was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, was awarded $450,000 in damages by a Wisconsin jury from a defamation lawsuit filed in response to conspiracy theorists claiming the Newtown tragedy never occurred.

James Fetzer and Mike Palacek, co-authors of the 2016 book titled, "Nobody Died at Sandy Hook" claimed that the shooting -- where 26 people died, among them 20 children -- was a staged political scheme, rather than a tragic massacre that took many lives on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.

The book falsely states that Pozner fabricated his son Noah's death certificate. The writers also claimed that Noah was not a real person, and alternatively, that he was not Pozner's son, according to the complaint.

Judge Frank D. Remington of Wisconsin's Dane County Circuit Court ruled in June that the statements by Fetzer were defamatory, and the case went to trial to determine damages. The jury's decision was made Tuesday, officials at Dane County Court told CNN.

"I have now had to defend my son's existence against these hoaxers for longer than he was alive," Pozner told CNN Wednesday.

"For many years, I attempted to use the legal system to get hoaxers like Mr. Fetzer to stop attacking me and terrorizing my family."

Pozner hopes the ruling in his case helps others pursue legal action against conspiracy theorists looking to spread lies.

"Today, I believe that hesitation ends and the countless other victims of Mr. Fetzer and other conspiracy theorists like him who use the internet to harass and defame, will now have the ability to pursue legal action against their abusers," he said.

"It was a classic SLAPP suit brilliantly executed by narrowly focusing on a conclusion for which we have acquired enormous evidential support," Fetzer told CNN when reached for comment.

Despite the court's determinations and issuance of an official death certificate from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Vital Records Division, Fetzer maintains that the tragedy was an Obama-administration "drill where no kids died to promote gun control."

Palacek and the book publisher's parent company Wrongs Without Remedies LLC both settled with Pozner and their cases were dismissed.

Fetzner is solely responsible for the payment awarded to Pozner.

CNN was unable to reach Palacek for comment.

A post-trial status conference is scheduled for Monday. Fetzner said he will appeal the case in its entirety.

Pozner has created a website in honor of his son Noah. "We miss the music of his full-bellied laughter, the warmth of his hugs, and the twinkle in his beautiful eyes with an indescribable, timeless sorrow," a message on the site reads.

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