Updated: 9 a.m. | Posted: 4 a.m.
The families of six people killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting have filed a defamation lawsuit against internet and radio personality Alex Jones.
Two Minnesota companies also are named as defendants, with the plaintiffs claiming the companies syndicated and profited from Jones' messages about the 2012 school shooting in Connecticut that claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators.
Jones is a popular conspiracy theorist who runs the website Infowars. He has repeatedly called the shooting fake.
An attorney for the plaintiffs, Matt Blumenthal of Connecticut-based Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, told MPR News the harrowing journey continues for the victims' families — as well as a first responder who was at the shooting scene — because Jones and others associated with him have repeatedly called the shooting fake, on shows that are distributed to millions of listeners.
Blumenthal said his clients continue to endure threats and harassment from people who believe Jones.
"They face people following them, coming to their town, videotaping them and their children, defacing memorials to their children, contacting them demanding they exhume their children," he said. "It is really some of the most outrageous harassment and abuse you can imagine."
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Connecticut state court, lists Jones and Infowars as defendants, along with a handful of other people and businesses Blumenthal claimed syndicated and profited from Jones' statements about the shooting.
Two of those companies are Burnsville, Minn.-based Genesis Communications Network Inc. and Midas Resources Inc. — both privately owned by Ted Anderson.
The lawsuit alleges Anderson, the head of Genesis — a talk radio syndicator — appeared many times on Jones' show to promote his other business, Midas Resources, which has sold precious metals and dietary supplements over the years.
Blumenthal said his clients hope suing Jones and the other defendants will finally put the conspiracy theory to rest, and free them from any further harassment.
"It's about accountability for the actions of these defendants who have waged this campaign of outrageous and malicious lies against people who have suffered a really fathomless loss, and they've done it in order to profit off of the audience that they increase through spreading these conspiracy theories," he said.
Messages left for Anderson by phone and at his office by MPR News were not returned as of Thursday evening.
According to the Minnesota Secretary of State's website, Anderson's businesses were started in the mid-1990s and appear to be in good standing with the state of Minnesota.
Correction (May 25, 2018): An earlier version of this story incorrectly named Ted Anderson as a defendant in the lawsuit. Anderson owns two Minnesota companies — Genesis Communications Network Inc. and Midas Resources Inc. — that are named as defendants.