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Jurors hear replay of some testimony in Alex Jones' trial

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — Jurors revisited testimony from the husband of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim as a third full day of deliberations began Wednesday in conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Connecticut defamation trial.

At the jury’s request, court began with a replay of a roughly hourlong audio recording of William Sherlach’s trial testimony. His wife, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, was among the 26 people killed in the 2012 shooting.

Her husband is among the lawsuit’s 15 plaintiffs, who include victims’ relatives and an FBI agent. All testified about being harassed by people who say the shooting was staged in a plot for more gun control.

Jones and his company were found liable for damages last year. The six-person jury is tasked with determining how much he should pay to the plaintiffs victims’ families and the FBI agent for calling the massacre a hoax.

William Sherlach, who goes by Bill, testified that he worried for his and his family’s safety because of the shooting deniers’ vitriol.

Sherlach testified that he saw online posts falsely positing that the shooting was a hoax; that his wife never existed; that she didn’t have the credentials to be a school psychologist; that his family was actually named Goldberg and lived in Florida; and that he was part of a financial cabal and somehow involved with the school shooter’s father.

Sherlach didn’t testify about receiving any harassing messages directly, though he also said that he didn’t have social media accounts or use email. Nor did he mention anything that Jones said specifically.

The jury has been instructed to arrive at two compensatory damages amounts per plaintiff: one sum for defamation damages and another for emotional distress damages. Jurors also will decide whether Jones should pay punitive damages; the judge would decide the amounts later.

Each compensatory damages amount has to be at least $1, but there is no cap. The plaintiffs’ lawyers have suggested total damages could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The plaintiffs include an FBI agent who responded to the shooting and relatives of eight victims who died. Twenty children and six educators were killed.

Jones has bashed the trial as a “kangaroo court,” described it as an affront to free speech rights, and called the judge a “tyrant.” His lawyer told the jury that any damages awarded should be minimal.