The parent company of right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, an unexpected move that comes as a trial takes place in Texas to determine how much it will have to pay in compensation to the families of two Sandy Hook victims who sued W. He received a judgment against him in absentia.
Jones’ decision to file for bankruptcy for his company, Free Speech Systems, which operates right-wing conspiracy outlet Infowars, comes after he was found liable in another libel case in Connecticut.
In that Connecticut case, a different group of families sued Jones for false accusations he made about the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
Three smaller companies linked to Jones filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and briefly suspended cases in both Texas and Connecticut. But the families who sued Jones withdrew the three smaller companies from their lawsuits so that the cases could move forward against Jones and the free speech regimes. All three companies soon emerged from bankruptcy protection.
In a strange legal development, Jones also filed a lawsuit Thursday against his Connecticut company, a move that could delay proceedings in the Connecticut trial.
The attorney representing Jones in the Texas defamation case, Federico Andino Renal, made the bankruptcy filing at the end of court proceedings Friday.
Renal said the bankruptcy filing should not affect the ongoing lawsuit. The judge supervising the trial said proceedings in the case would continue on Monday.
However, it is not clear how the action will affect after the jury reaches a decision on the damages. It is also unclear how the move will affect the situation in Connecticut. There was no immediate comment from a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in Texas. Christopher Mattey, an attorney representing some of Sandy Hook’s families in Connecticut, issued a scathing statement to CNN about Jones’ move.
“Just two days before jury selection began in Connecticut, Mr. Jones once again fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in a transparent attempt to delay facing families who had spent years in peril,” Mattie said. These families have endless patience and are still determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in Connecticut court.
The bankruptcy filing filed in court on Friday sheds a tremendous light on Jones’ shadowy business.
The filing says Free Speech Systems generated $13.1 million in gross profit in 2021 and $9.3 million in gross profit in the first five months of 2022.
But the document noted that Free Speech Systems had $14.3 million in total liabilities and equity as of May 31, 2022.
Earlier this week, the attorney for two Sandy Hook families who sued Jones in Texas, Mark Bankston, asked a jury to award his clients $150 million in damages.
“This is certainly a huge ruling, but it will do justice to the level of damage done in this case,” Bankston told the jury in his opening statement.
“The harm done to the parents and parents of the murdered children, which they had to endure for 10 years, is the most despicable and despicable campaign of slander in the history of the United States,” Bankston added.
Bankston said the $150 million figure was $1 for each person believing false information about the Sandy Hook shooting that Jones paid, which he said amounted to about $75 million.
An additional $75 million will be earmarked to compensate parents for the emotional and mental suffering they have experienced over the past decade due to bullying by Jones and his supporters.