A Wisconsin jury has awarded the father of a victim of the Sandy Hook shooting $450,000 in his defamation lawsuit against an author who claimed the massacre was a hoax. Leonard Pozner, whose six-year-old son Noah was one of the 26 victims at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, filed a lawsuit against James Fetzer and co-author Mike Palacek after they published a book titled Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.
The authors claimed the government orchestrated the shooting in order to enact strict gun control laws. Pozner said that the book defamed him and resulted in people harassing and threatening him. He stated he suffered from PTSD after people started calling his home and making threats to his family.
Fetzer argued that his book did not defame Pozner because everything he wrote was true and that he was not responsible for the actions of the people harassing Pozner and his family.
The jury was not swayed by Fetzer's argument and found that three of the claims made in the book were defamatory, including the assertion that Noah's death certificate was fake.
"Mr. Fetzer has the right to believe that Sandy Hook never happened," Pozner said after the jury announced their decision. "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."
Fetzer called the jury's decision "absurd" and plans to appeal. Palacek settled his lawsuit with Pozner for an undisclosed amount of money.
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