A jury in Dane County, Wisconsin determined Tuesday that conspiracy theorist and retired professor James Fetzer must pay $450,000 to Leonard Pozner, the father of the youngest Sandy Hook shooting victim.
Noah, 6, was one of the 20 children killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, but Fetzer insisted that the incident was faked by the Obama Administration as an excuse to implement gun control, according to The Wisconsin State Journal. The retired professor and co-author Mike Palecek made their claims in a book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.”
A judge determined in June that the text defamed Pozner in claiming that he faked his son’s death certificate. Palacek has settled in the case, but Fetzer promised to appeal, according to The Star Tribune.
Pozner’s team said he suffered immensely after the death of his son, and Fetzer’s book exacerbated that.
The plaintiff said he faced numerous harassment and threats from people who asserted the Sandy Hook shooting didn’t happen.
“But were it not for the denial of the death of his son, the harassment and threats, he would have healed and been having a relatively normal life several years ago and he wouldn’t continue to have post-traumatic stress disorder,” said plaintiff expert witness, forensic psychiatrist Roy Lubit.
Fetzer’s lawyer Richard Bolton argued that there’s no evidence his client threatened Pozner, or that the people who did threaten the plaintiff ever read what the defendant wrote, according to the State Journal.
“They can’t connect any significant, if any, harm to these four statements,” he said. “That’s a dot they have to connect and they have not.”
“He was writing about Noah and about me,” Pozner said of learning about Fetzer in 2014. “It said a lot of ugly things, and I felt like I needed to defend my son. He couldn’t do that for himself so I needed to be his voice.”
[Screengrab via CNN]