Lawyers for Sandy Hook families claim the InfoWars host is trying to dodge $1.5 billion payout
Controversial InfoWars host Alex Jones filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, informing a court in Texas that he had assets insufficient to cover the liabilities exceeding $1 billion. The move comes after Jones was ordered to pay almost $1.5 billion to lawyers and families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims for claiming it had been staged.
The filing informed the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston that Jones had "between $1 million and $10 million" in assets and faced "between $1 billion and $10 billion" in liabilities to "50 to 99 creditors."
As major outlets like AP, Reuters and the New York Times reported on the filing, attorneys for the Sandy Hook families accused Jones of trying to get out of paying the hundreds of millions in damages from two defamation trials in Connecticut and Texas.
"The American judicial system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop working to enforce the jury's verdict." Chris Mattei, an attorney for the families in the Connecticut case, said in a statement quoted by AP and Reuters.
Jones was infamously skeptical of the narrative about the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook, when former student Adam Lanza murdered his mother, six other adults and 20 children before shooting himself in the head. Some of the parents have since sued gun manufacturers and sellers over Lanza's firearm purchase. Ten families also sued Jones for claiming that some of them were "crisis actors" on his show.
In October, a Connecticut jury ordered Jones to pay $965 million in compensatory damages to the several Sandy Hook families, with a judge adding another $473 million in punitive damages. A separate lawsuit in Texas resulted in Jones being ordered to pay another $49 million to a Sandy Hook family. His lawyers said they would appeal both verdicts.
Attorneys for the families have filed motions to block Jones from using bankruptcy protection to avoid paying out the judgments, claiming that he had moved over $60 million from InfoWars to shell companies starting in 2018, when their lawsuits were first filed.
Jones testified that he had "legitimately thought" at the time the shooting might have been staged, but later changed his mind and apologized "hundreds of times." He also called the lawsuits an attack on the constitutionally protected right of free speech and described the proceedings as a "struggle session" in China.