A jury in Wisconsin has awarded $450,000 to the father of a boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting after he filed a defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist writers who claimed the massacre never happened. A Dane County jury on Tuesday decided the amount James Fetzer must pay Leonard Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was among the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012. Fetzer, a retired University of Minnesota Duluth professor now living in Wisconsin, and Mike Palacek co-wrote a book, Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, in which they claimed the Sandy Hook shooting never took place but was instead an event staged by the federal government as part of an Obama administration effort to enact tighter gun restrictions.
A judge earlier ruled Pozner was defamed by statements in the book that claimed he fabricated copies of his son's death certificate. Palacek reached a settlement with Pozner last month, terms of which were not disclosed. Fetzer called the damages amount reached by the jury Tuesday "absurd" and said he would appeal, the AP reports. 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. Others who lost relatives in the Newtown shooting have joined the fight lately after quietly enduring harassment and ridiculous assertions for years. (Read more Sandy Hook Elementary School stories.)