Alex Jones Puts The Company Behind InfoWars Empire In Bankruptcy

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

Last year, Mr. Jones lost four defamation lawsuits filed by the families of 10 people who were shot dead at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., on December 14, 2012. Soon after the shooting, he began spreading false theories that the shooting was staged by the government as an excuse to confiscate the firearms of Americans, and that the families were involved in the conspiracy. Families have suffered years of suffering from people believing those false claims.

Judges in Texas and Connecticut held Jones liable by default for disobeying court orders. The loss set the stage for three jury trials to seek damages. The first tests began last week in Austin. In it, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose sons Jesse Lewis, 6, perished in the massacre, have sought $150 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages. Mr Jones and a sidekick, Owen Schauer, implied on Infowars that the memory of holding his son shortly after Mr Heslin was murdered was a lie.

On Friday, Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ordered that the trial continue despite the bankruptcy filing, which would have otherwise forced the litigation to stop.

Lawyers for the families say the bankruptcy filing is another gamble to delay damages lawsuits in the remaining two cases: won in Texas by Lenny Pozner and Veronique de la Rosa, whose son Noah Pozner died at Sandy Hook. Went; And another 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 scheduled to begin next week.

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

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

The bankruptcy filing was in the name of Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent company. 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 for defamation.

Mr Jones has raised millions from his followers by pleading for help on his radio and online shows for his legal defense. Contributions include: Anonymous donation of $8 million in cryptocurrency that Mr Jones said last week that he had already spent. As of Friday’s filing, InfoWars says it has spent $15 million on legal bills in the Sandy Hook cases.

Eric Taube, the Texas attorney who helped build the Infowars network of companies that lawyers for the Sandy Hook family say is important to helping Mr Jones protect his business from a jury decision, said on Saturday declined to comment.

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