Alex Jones seeks bankruptcy protection, sues own parent company

NEWTOWN — Alex Jones placed his parent company under federal bankruptcy protection in Texas on Friday, a legal maneuver that is not expected to affect the Sandy Hook libel trial underway in Austin.

But it was too early to say Friday what effect the bankruptcy of Jones’ Free Speech Systems would have on a second defamation trial in Connecticut, scheduled to begin Tuesday with jury selection.

The Chapter 11 filing in South Texas Bankruptcy Court says the parent company of Jones’ conspiracy and trading platform Infowars is worth between $10 million and $50 million.

Free Speech Systems, along with Jones, was found liable for defamation in three cases involving Sandy Hook families in 2021.

The federal bankruptcy court can stay action in state courts: as it did earlier this year when Jones stalled a trial in Texas with a last-minute bankruptcy filing for three of his shell companies.

The lead attorney for the Connecticut families had not yet filed a response with the court.

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

Jones’ latest bankruptcy comes as the first week of the Texas trial concluded and a day after Jones sued his own parent company FSS in Connecticut.

“Free Speech Systems has promised and warranted that it will indemnify and hold harmless Alex Emric Jones from any damages or other costs that may be assessed or entered against him in this litigation,” said a claim Jones filed in Superior Court of State v. FSS. “Jones Claims Judgment Against Free Speech Systems”.

Nor is this legal maneuver expected to affect the second week of the trial in Texas, where two parents of a slain Sandy Hook boy are seeking to defame Jones. $150 million in damages. But what the maneuver means for the timely start of his trial in Connecticut to determine how much he must pay an FBI agent and eight Sandy Hook families that Jones defamed remains to be seen.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled Friday that she would “address the untimely cross-claim” on Tuesday, the same day jury selection is set to begin.

Attorneys for the families of Sandy Hook in Connecticut said in an objection filed Friday that “Alex Jones will do anything to delay the trial in this case, including suing himself.”

“The cross-complaint alleges the fiction that this wholly-owned subsidiary promised to hold Jones harmless in this case, inviting this proceeding to enter Mr. Jones’ conspiratorial world, where facts found and sworn testimony mean nothing “say the families. objection “To ensure that Jones does not benefit from this latest ploy, the cross-claim should be deemed immediately untimely and made in bad faith.”

Jones orchestrated a similar legal maneuver earlier this year, when a week before his first libel awards trial was scheduled to take place in Texas, he declared bankruptcy protection for three fictitious companies. While the maneuver slowed the start of the Texas trial, which began Monday, it did little else.

The reason: Jones did not seek bankruptcy protection for Free Speech Systems either. The three shell companies had a combined revenue of $38,000. The families simply dropped these shell companies from their lawsuits and the bankruptcy was over.

Jones’ representatives have testified in court that his Infowars store had sales of $165 million between 2015 and 2018, and that Jones himself made $76 million in 2019. The representatives have also said that Jones has paid $10 million in legal fees so far and has lost $20 million as a result of the Sandy Hook lawsuits.

Jones’ claim against his own parent company, filed by New Haven attorney John Williams, seeks “an injunctive relief requiring Free Speech Systems to honor and comply with its stated obligation to indemnify and hold ( Jones) indemnified from any damages or other costs that may be incurred. assessed or charged against him in such litigation”.

The families are urging the judge to deny Jones’ claim.

“The trial date is set, it’s firm and it’s imminent,” says the families’ objection. “The cross-claim will surely cause delay if allowed. It is also prejudicial: if this purported cross-claim could be pleaded in this case, the plaintiffs were entitled to notice of it long ago.”

rryser@newstimes.com 203-731-3342

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