Lake County, Florida deputies arrested a former contributor to Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory hellhole InfoWars, 73-year-old Wolfgang Halbig, on Monday after he waged a relentless campaign of online harassment against the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victims.
Florida police charged Halbig with unlawful possession of personal identification after he allegedly emailed a TransUnion credit report containing extensive personal details on parent Leonard Pozner to numerous recipients, including “multiple different law enforcement agencies and news stations,” according to the New York Times. Pozner’s six-year-old son, Noah, was shot and killed during the 2012 mass shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, which resulted in 26 deaths. Halbig has for years waged a one-sided smear campaign against the families of the victims, spreading lies that they are party to a massive government disinformation campaign designed to seize firearms.
Pozner has attempted for years to get Halbig to stop and now lives in hiding, according to the Times. He founded the HONR Network, a non-profit that seeks to drive harassment campaigns against the victims of violence off the internet.
Jones and InfoWars capitalized on the Sandy Hook killings as an opportunity to sell their audience of conspiracy theorists everything from survival gear and emergency rations to (sometimes lead-tainted) supplements and erectile dysfunction pills. Jones regularly invited Halbig on his program to push baseless theories that the massacre was faked by government operatives and that the families of the victims were paid actors, allowing Halbig to use his audience of millions of viewers for fundraising purposes. An article in the Washington Post noted that InfoWars billed Halbig as a “leading expert” on Sandy Hook.
Pozner told the Times that Halbig raised at least $100,000 on crowdfunding sites, supposedly to fund his campaign to force the release of public documents related to the shooting such as photos of the crime scene and the victims’ bodies. Halbig also demanded the government release receipts for the cleanup of “bodily fluids, brain matter, skull fragments and around 45 to 60 gallons of blood.”
Halbig also posted personal information on Sandy Hook victims’ families to a small army of online followers—a practice known as doxxing, which is intended to facilitate harassment. This finally ran afoul of Florida police, who charged him on Monday with violating a state law that prohibits an individual from having knowledge of another’s Social Security number, state ID numbers, and banking or credit card details, among other information. According to the Hartford Courant, Halbig posted $5,000 cash bond and will be back in court on Feb. 24, 2020.
California man Brandon Fleury was convicted in federal court last October on multiple counts of cyberstalking and one county of transmitting a kidnapping threat related to his harassment of survivors and loved ones of the victims of a February 2018 shooting in Parkland, Florida, that resulted in 17 deaths and 17 injuries. FBI agents had previously traced Instagram accounts to his IP address in Santa Ana.
Jones has (incompetently) tried to distance himself from Halbig and other Sandy Hook hoaxers after InfoWars drew multiple defamation lawsuits from people he claimed were part of mass shooting conspiracies and was banned from virtually every major internet platform. In December 2019, Jones was ordered to pay $100,000 in legal fees in one of the cases, which along with others remains pending. Court filings show that Jones’ e-commerce business, Free Speech Systems, had over 16,000 files pertaining to Halbig.
Norm Pattis, an attorney for Jones, tried to throw Halbig under the bus in a statement to the Courant: “Mr. Halbig had a brief and limited association with InfoWars. He and his views have long been in the rearview mirror.”
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