Alex Jones’ media company files for bankruptcy amid defamation trial

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ media company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy on Friday, but his lawyer said it should not disrupt the judgment for damages for defamation underway in Texas that seeks to force Jones to pay $150 million or more to the family of one of the children killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The trial in Austin, where Jones lives and Free Speech Systems is based, concluded its first week of testimony Friday and is expected to conclude next week. The bankruptcy filing was announced by Jones’ attorney, Andino Reynal, later in the day.

Reynal and attorneys for the family suing Jones told Judge Maya Guerra Gamble that the bankruptcy filing would not stop the lawsuit.

The company wants to “put this part of the odyssey behind us so we have some numbers” set for damages, Reynal said.

Details of the bankruptcy filing were not immediately available.

It’s not the first time a bankruptcy filing has been filed amid litigation against Jones by the Sandy Hook families. In April, Jones’ company, Infowars, and two more of his business entities applied for bankruptcy protection, which caused a delay in the trial. Free Speech Systems is the parent company of Infowars.

Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found against Jones responsible for defamation for its depiction of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax involving actors aimed at increasing gun control. In both states, judges entered default judgments against Jones without trial because he failed to respond to subpoenas and turn over documents.

Trump supporters argue

Alex Jones, the founder of the right-wing media group Infowars, addresses a crowd of pro-Trump protesters after they stormed the grounds of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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Christopher Mattei, the attorney for the Sandy Hook families in the Connecticut case, issued a statement Friday evening announcing the bankruptcy filing.

“Just two days before jury selection begins in Connecticut, Mr. Jones has again fled like a coward in bankruptcy court in a transparent attempt to delay facing the families he has spent years hurting” , Mattei said. “These families have infinite patience and remain determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court.”

The trial in Austin aims to determine how much Jones should pay for defamation of Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was among the 20 children and six educators killed in the deadliest school shooting in the country They and other Sandy Hook families suing Jones say they have endured years of harassment and threats as a result of Jones’ repeated false claims that the shooting was a hoax or did not happen.

Jones claimed in court records last year that he had a negative net worth of $20 million, but attorneys for the Sandy Hook families have painted a different financial picture.

Court records show Jones’ Infowars store, which sells nutritional supplements and survival gear, made more than $165 million between 2015 and 2018. Jones has also urged listeners to his Infowars show to donate money.

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