Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ primary company, Free Speech Systems, filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, just as a trial is set to begin to determine how much the “Info Wars” host will have to pay in damages to the families of two Sandy Hook Elementary School victims who sued and won a default judgment against him.
Jones’ attorney in the defamation case, Federico Andino Reynal, said the bankruptcy filing should not impact the trial, which will continue on Monday.
As of May 31, Free Speech Systems listed assets of $14.3 million, including $1.16 million in cash and almost $1.6 million in property, according to USA Today. However, in the bankruptcy filing, it also listed $79 million in liabilities, including a $54 million debt owed to PQPR Holdings.
In the face of legal challenges, including defamation lawsuits filed after the right-wing media personality called the 2012 Connecticut school shooting that killed 26 people — including 20 children between 6 and 7 years old, and six adult staff members — a hoax, InfoWars and two other companies owned by Jones previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.
Chapter 11 has paused all civil lawsuits until the companies have time to reorganize financially. Jones has also been accused of moving assets between companies to hide them from claimants.
Jones also filed a complaint Thursday against his own company, which could further delay proceedings in the Connecticut trial. It’s unclear how – or if – the latest filings would impact matters when the jury decides on damages.
“Just two days before jury selection is due to begin in Connecticut, Mr. Jones has once again fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in a transparent attempt to delay facing the families that he has spent years hurting,” Christopher Mattei, an attorney representing some of the Sandy Hook families in Connecticut, told CNN Business. “These families have an endless well of patience and remain determined to hold Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court.”
Mark Bankston, the lawyer for two Sandy Hook families, has asked the jury to award his clients $150 million in damages.