The timing of Jones’ apology is not coincidental. Under the Texas Defamation Litigation Act (Section 73.051 et. seq. of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedy Code) Jones can reduce his risk for exemplary damages related to his libel by issuing a retraction within 30 days of a letter from the victims of the libel seeking a correction, clarification or retraction. This apology was issued on the 30th day from when counsel for Comet Ping Pong sent such a letter to Jones.
Notably, to qualify for this mitigation the retraction also must:
1. acknowledge the falsity of the libelous claim.
2. be published with a prominence and in a manner and medium reasonably likely to reach substantially the same audience as the libelous material did.
The retraction does not foreclose a libel lawsuit. Comet Ping Pong, and the individuals libeled, may continue to pursue a libel lawsuit for the actual damages they and the business suffered from Jones’ libelous statements. The apology does mitigate the risk of exemplary and punitive damages against Jones and Infowars.