TOP STORIES Alex Jones media company files for bankruptcy during libel...

Alex Jones media company files for bankruptcy during libel trial

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Alex Jones arrives at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas on July 26, 2022, with a piece of duct tape on his lips that says “Save the 1st.”

Briana Sanchez/Austin American Statesman via AP


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Briana Sanchez/Austin American Statesman via AP


Alex Jones arrives at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas on July 26, 2022, with a piece of duct tape on his lips that says “Save the 1st.”

Briana Sanchez/Austin American Statesman via AP

Austin, Texas. Media company Free Speech Systems, owned by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, filed for bankruptcy on Friday, but his lawyer said that should not interfere with a defamation damages lawsuit that is underway in Texas and aims to to force Jones to pay $150 million or more to the family of the deceased. one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack.

The trial in Austin, where Jones lives and Free Speech Systems is based, ended its first week of testimony on Friday and is expected to wrap up next week. The bankruptcy was announced by Jones’ lawyer Andino Reynal at the end of the day.

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

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

The details of filing for bankruptcy were not immediately available.

This isn’t the first time the Sandy Hook families have filed for bankruptcy amid litigation against Jones. In April, Jones’ company Infowars and two of his other businesses filed for bankruptcy protection, delaying the trial. Free Speech Systems is the parent company of Infowars.

Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for portraying the Sandy Hook massacre as a prank involving actors to increase gun control. In both states, judges ruled in absentia against Jones without trial because he did not respond to court orders or hand over documents.

Christopher Mattei, the Sandy Hook families’ attorney for the Connecticut case, issued a statement Friday night criticizing the bankruptcy filing.

“Just two days before jury selection is due to begin in Connecticut, Mr. Jones once again fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in an apparent attempt to delay meeting families he has hurt for years,” Mattei said. . “These families have an endless supply of patience and remain determined to bring Mr. Jones to justice in a Connecticut court.”

A court in Austin is to determine how much Jones should pay to libel Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among 20 children and six educators killed in the nation’s deadliest school shooting. They and other Sandy Hook families suing Jones say they have been harassed and threatened for years due to Jones’ repeated false claims that the shooting was a hoax or it didn’t happen.

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

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

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