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Top Stories: Alex Jones Cites Free Speech As Defense In Sandy Hook Defamation Lawsuit

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The top local stories this morning from KERA News:

A court hearing begins in Austin on Wednesday stemming from comments radio show host Alex Jones made about the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school six years ago.

Parents of some of the 20 children who died that day sued Jones and his company InfoWars for defamation after he called the shooting a hoax and a government conspiracy.

Jones has rolled back on his original comments, calling the shooting a tragedy, and is claiming First Amendment rights in an effort to dismiss the lawsuit.

University of Texas School of Law professor Lucas Powe says the Sandy Hook families have to show reckless disregard for the truth to win the case.

"What’s intriguing about the case is: it’s almost impossible to win a libel case,” Powe said. “And yet, I think this is a case where I think the plaintiffs are going to win."

The families are seeking $1 million in damages, and the judge will have 30 days to decide if the case should proceed.

Other stories this morning:

  • Jake Diekman went from one clubhouse to the other in Arizona Tuesday night, as he was traded by the Texas Rangers to the Diamondbacks just before the trade deadline closed. The Rangers are getting two prospects in return.

  • Long before European explorers arrived in the New World, Native American communities used fire to keep warm and to manage the land. Southern Methodist University archeologist Christopher Roos is lead author of a new study on how that use of fire affected the ecosystem, and he talked with KERA's Justin Martin.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.