NEWTOWN, Conn. — A parent of a slain student won a civil lawsuit against two deniers of a 2012 mass shooting who published a book called “Nobody Died At Sandy Hook.”
Lenny Pozner had sued James Fetzer and Mike Palecek for defamation in November, documents show.
The suit focused on claims, both in the book and in Fetzer’s blog, that Pozner had circulated a false birth certificate for his son Noah, one of the 20 children and six adults killed in the elementary school massacre.
Judge Frank D. Remington of the Dane County Circuit Court in Wisconsin signed an order on Tuesday finding that the statements published by the two men were in fact defamatory. Fetzer lives in Wisconsin.
The judge granted Pozner’s motion for summary judgment, allowing the case to proceed to a trial by jury to determine the damages.
Pozner’s attorney, Jake Zimmerman, told CNN his client is seeking $1 million in damages. The jury selection is set to start in mid-October.
“The damages go beyond Mr. Pozner’s feelings being hurt, there are real-world implications,” Zimmerman told CNN, saying the real damage is that people who read these defamatory claims have taken against his client.
In 2016, a Tampa woman was indicted on four counts of making threats against Pozner. According to a federal indictment, the woman called him and said, “You gonna die, death is coming you real soon,” as well as “death is coming to you real soon and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
She pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting threats and was sentenced to five months in federal prison in 2017. Zimmerman told CNN that part of the woman’s probation terms is that she isn’t allowed to visit websites like Fetzer’s.
In a phone call with CNN, Fetzer, who represented himself in court, said that the judge’s decision was “completely inappropriate” and “a violation of proper legal protocol.”
“This case is a sham, just as fabricated as the documents involved here. I stand for the truth,” Fetzer said. “I’m out for the truth and to protect the American people from scams.”
Mike Palecek, who was also self-represented, did not respond to a request for comment.
Wrongs Without Wremedies LLC, which publishes Moon Rock Books including “Nobody Died At Sandy Hook,” was named in the initial complaint but settled.
An attorney for the company told CNN it had no comment.