Alex Jones bankrupts companies behind Infowars Empire – The New York Times | Vette Leader

AUSTIN, Texas — Faced with a potential $150 million judgment and two more lawsuits for defaming the families of people killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones ran its Infowars on Friday -Empire into bankruptcy by Chapter 11.

Last year, Mr. Jones lost four defamation lawsuits filed by the families of 10 people killed in a December 14, 2012, elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Shortly after the shooting, he began promoting the false theory that the shooting was staged by the government as a pretext to confiscate firearms from Americans and that the families were complicit in the conspiracy. The families have endured years of agony from people who believe these false claims.

Judges in Texas and Connecticut ruled that Mr. Jones was liable for disobeying court orders. The losses set the stage for the three jury trials for damages. The first trial began last week in Austin. In it, Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse Lewis, 6, died in the massacre, are seeking $150 million in damages plus punitive damages. Mr Jones and a pal, Owen Shroyer, suggested to Infowars that Mr Heslin’s recollection of detaining his son shortly after his murder was a lie.

On Friday, Travis County District Court Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ordered the trial to proceed to a verdict despite the bankruptcy filing, which would otherwise have forced a stay of the litigation.

Attorneys for the families say the bankruptcy filing is another move to delay damages claims in the two remaining cases: one in Texas won by Lenny Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, whose son Noah Pozner died in Sandy Hook; and the second was 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 Connecticut jury selection begins, Mr. Jones again fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in a transparent attempt to delay confronting the families he’s hurt for years,” Chris Mattei, attorney for the Sandy Hook -Families in the Connecticut case said in a statement.

“These families,” his statement continued, “have infinite patience and are determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court.”

The bankruptcy filing was filed on behalf of Free Speech Systems, Infowars’ parent company. The petition states that Free Speech Systems has assets of $14 million and liabilities of $79 million. On its list of creditors, the company names several individuals and companies with legal claims against Mr. Jones and Infowars, including for defamation.

Mr Jones has rallied millions of his followers for his legal defense by asking for their help on his radio and online show. Contributions include an anonymous donation of $8 million in cryptocurrency that Mr Jones said last week he had already spent. Infowars says it spent $15 million on legal fees in the Sandy Hook cases, Friday’s filing shows.

Eric Taube, the Texas attorney who helped build the network of Infowars companies that attorneys for the Sandy Hook families say are critical in helping Mr. Jones protect his company from jury verdicts, declined a statement on Saturday.

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