American-Statesman via Briana Sanchez/Austin AP
AUSTIN, Texas – Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s media company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy on Friday, but his lawyer will not have to break a defamation lawsuit in Texas that would compel Jones to pay $150 million or more to his family. he said it was. One of the children who died in the 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The trial in Austin, where Jones lives and Free Speech Systems is based, wrapped up its first week of testimony Friday and is expected to wrap up next week. The bankruptcy filing was announced later in the day by Jones’ attorney, Andino Reynal.
Attorneys for the family suing Reynal and Jones told Judge Maya Guerra Gamble that the bankruptcy filing will not stop the lawsuit.
Reynal said the company “wants to put this part of the odyssey behind us so we have some numbers.”
Details of the bankruptcy filing were not immediately released.
It’s not the first time a bankruptcy filing has been filed against Jones by Sandy Hook families. In April, Jones’ company, Infowars, and two of his other businesses filed for bankruptcy protection, prompting a court delay. Free Speech Systems is the parent company of Infowars.
Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already held Jones liable for defamation for portraying the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax by actors aimed at increasing gun control. In both states, judges issued indeterminate judgments against Jones without trial after he failed to respond to subpoenas and turn over documents.
Christopher Mattei, the attorney for the Sandy Hook families in the Connecticut case, released a statement Thursday that blasted the bankruptcy filing.
“Just two days before jury selection began in Connecticut, Mr. Jones once again ran cowardly into bankruptcy court in a clear attempt to delay facing his family for years of suffering,” Mattei said. “These families have an endless well of patience and remain determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court.”
The trial in Austin is to determine how much Jones must pay for defaming Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis was among the 20 children and six teachers killed in the nation’s deadliest school shooting. They and the other Sandy Hook families suing Jones say they suffered years of harassment and threats as a result of Jones’ repeated false claims that the shooting was a hoax or that it never happened.
Jones claimed in court filings last year that he had a negative net worth of $20 million, but attorneys for the Sandy Hook families painted a different financial picture.
Court records show that Jones’ Infowars store, which sells nutritional supplements and survival tools, generated more than $165 million in revenue between 2015 and 2018. Jones also urged listeners to donate money on Infowars.