Sandy Hook families want to seize Alex Jones' social media accounts

By Dietrich Knauth

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Families of the Sandy Hook massacre victims want to seize Alex Jones' social media accounts in his bankruptcy, saying that the conspiracy theorist's frequent posts to fans are a key part of the Infowars business being liquidated to pay Jones' debts.

Jones, who filed for bankruptcy protection 17 months ago, has given up on trying to reach a settlement that would reduce the $1.5 billion that he owes to the relatives of 20 students and six staff members killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Jones and the Sandy Hook families now agree that Jones' assets should be liquidated in bankruptcy. But the families on Wednesday asked a U.S. bankruptcy judge in Houston, Texas, to additionally take control of Jones' X.com account and prevent Jones from using it to promote new business ventures.

The Sandy Hook families asked the judge to make clear that the Jones' "@RealAlexJones" account on X.com, formerly known as Twitter, will be among the assets turned over to a court-appointed trustee in charge of liquidating Jones' assets. Jones' X account, which has 2.3 million followers, is "no different than a customer list of any other liquidating business," the Sandy Hook families argued.

They argued that Jones has used the social media account to push down the value of Infowars by diverting sales from that site to his father's DrJonesNaturals.com, which sells health supplements and other products.

Jones' attorney, Vickie Driver, said on Thursday that the Sandy Hook families' request was procedurally improper and that Jones would oppose it at the appropriate time.

"The Connecticut Plaintiffs have never wanted money from Jones but to silence him," Driver said.

Jones was banned from the platform for nearly five years, but his account was reinstated in December after a user poll conducted by X.com owner Elon Musk.

A U.S. bankruptcy judge is scheduled to hear the families' demand at a Friday court hearing in Houston. The judge is expected to convert Alex Jones' bankruptcy case from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which offers more control to a bankrupt debtor, to a Chapter 7 liquidation, which would allow a court-appointed trustee to take and sell Jones' assets.

Jones claimed for years that the Sandy Hook killings were staged with actors as part of a government plot to seize Americans' guns. Jones has since acknowledged that the shooting occurred.

The judge overseeing Jones' bankruptcy has ruled that most of the debt will survive after a liquidation, because it resulted from "willful and malicious" conduct.

Jones has estimated that he has less than $12 million in assets, meaning that he will carry an enormous legal debt even after Infowars and his other assets are sold.

The Sandy Hook families intend to continue collection actions against Jones' future income, and pursue additional payments from Jones' wife, father, employees and other associates to whom Jones' allegedly diverted assets.

A Chapter 7 liquidation will enable the Sandy Hook families to enforce their judgments "now and into the future while also depriving Jones of the ability to inflict mass harm as he has done for some 25 years," said Chris Mattei, an attorney for the Sandy Hook families.

Jones has said on a June 7 broadcast of The Alex Jones show that Infowars is "overrun" and "will be completely worthless" without him. He encouraged listeners to buy products from DrJonesNaturals to support his "future" and make sure he can continue to broadcast after the shutdown of Infowars.

"I've already sold everything but my house," Jones said on June 7. "I'm down to my last moves on this."

(Reporting by Dietrich Knauth; Editing by Josie Kao)