Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who was this month ordered to pay $965m (£854m) for falsely claiming the victims of the Connecticut school shooting were actors, is seeking a retrial.

The right has argued for years that the Newtown school massacre was staged as part of a government conspiracy to take away guns from Americans.

Connecticut State Jury ruled earlier in October Mr Jones must pay compensation to the many families who said they suffered from abusive comments, severe emotional distress and threats of rape and death as a result of the lie.

Mr. Jones on Friday asked a Connecticut judge to vacate the conviction against him and order a new trial. His request alleged that pretrial rulings by Judge Barbara Bellis resulted in an unfair trial and a “substantial miscarriage of justice.”

Read more: Who is Alex Jones?

“Furthermore, the amount of damages exceeds any rational consideration of the evidence presented at trial,” Jones’ attorneys, Norm Pattis and Kevin Smith, wrote in the motion.

Christopher Mattei, an attorney for the 15 plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Jones, declined to comment on the statement.

But he said he and other attorneys for the Sandy Hook family plan to file a brief against Jones.

In recent years, Jones has acknowledged that the shooting did happen, denouncing the lawsuits and lawsuits on his Texas-based show Infowars as unfair and a violation of his right to free speech.

Twenty elementary school children and six staff members died in the December 14, 2012, attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The FBI agent who responded to the shooting, along with relatives of the eight children and adults killed in the massacre, sued Jones for defamation and infliction of emotional distress for spreading the false narrative that the shooting was a hoax orchestrated by by “crisis actors” to introduce greater gun control.

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‘Truth matters’: Sandy Hook family’s verdict

Relatives of the victims said in often emotional testimony during the trial that they had been threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies on Jones’ show.

Relatives said that they received threats of murder and rape. They described how strangers showed up at their homes to record them, confronted them in public and subjected them to abusive comments on social media.

The October verdict followed that of another jury in Texas, which in August ordered Jones and his company to pay nearly $50m (£44m) in damages to the parents of another child killed in the mass shooting.

A third trial on fraud charges, involving two more Sandy Hook parents, is expected to take place near the end of the year in Texas.