Alex Jones Drives the Company Behind the Infowars Empire into Bankruptcy

AUSTIN, Texas — Facing a possible $150 million judgment and two more lawsuits for damages for defaming the families of those killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones on Friday put his Infowars empire in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Last year, Mr. Jones lost four defamation lawsuits brought by the families of 10 people killed in the December 14, 2012, elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Shortly after the shooting, he began spreading the false theory that the shooting was staged by the government as a pretext to confiscate the Americans’ firearms, and that the families were complicit in the plot. Families have suffered years of torment from people who believe these false claims.

Judges in Texas and Connecticut ruled that Mr. Jones was liable for failure to comply with court orders. The losses set the stage for the three jury trials for damages. The first trial began in Austin last week. In it, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was killed in the massacre, seek $150 million in compensatory damages, plus punitive damages. Mr. Jones and a partner, Owen Shroyer, implied in Infowars that Mr. Heslin’s recollection of holding his son shortly after his murder was a lie.

On Friday, Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ordered the trial to proceed with a verdict despite the bankruptcy filing, which would have otherwise forced a halt to litigation.

Attorneys for the families say filing for bankruptcy is another tactic to delay damages trials in the remaining two cases: one in Texas won by Lenny Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose son Noah Pozner was killed in Sandy Hook; and the second won in Connecticut by the families of eight Sandy Hook victims. The remaining trials were scheduled for September, with jury selection in the Connecticut case set to begin next week.

“Just two days before jury selection begins in Connecticut, Mr. Jones once again fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in a transparent attempt to delay confronting the families he has harmed for years.” , Chris Mattei, attorney for the Sandy Hook families in the Connecticut case, said in a statement.

“These families,” their statement continued, “have an endless well of patience and remain determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court.”

The bankruptcy filing was in the name of Free Speech Systems, the parent company of Infowars. The petition states that Free Speech Systems has $14 million in assets and $79 million in liabilities. In its list of creditors, the company names several individuals and companies with legal claims against Mr. Jones and Infowars, including for defamation.

Mr. Jones has raised millions from his followers for his legal defense by pleading for your help on his radio show and online. The contributions include an anonymous donation of $8 million in cryptocurrency that Mr. Jones said last week that he had already spent. Infowars says he has spent $15 million on legal bills in the Sandy Hook cases, according to Friday’s filing.

Eric Taube, the Texas attorney who helped create the Infowars network of companies that attorneys for the Sandy Hook family say are crucial in helping Jones protect his business from jury verdicts, declined to comment Saturday. .

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