Alex Jones’ Infowars media company Free Speech Systems files for bankruptcy in Sandy Hook lawsuit

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The parent company of Alex Jones’ Infowars website has filed for bankruptcy, its attorney said on Friday, as parents of victims of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School seek $150 million in damages -libel interests against the right-wing conspiracy theorist who falsely claimed responsibility for the massacre. was a “giant hoax”.

At the end of the first week of the civil trial in Austin, Jones’ attorney, F. Andino Reynal, told the courtroom that his client’s media company, Free Speech Systems, had filed for bankruptcy but that she would not interfere with the libel suit.

While details surrounding Infowars’ parent company’s bankruptcy were not immediately available, Reynal said the filing was made so that Jones’ company could “put this part of the odyssey behind us so that we let’s have some numbers” for possible defamation damages, according to the Associated Press.

It is the second time in recent months that a Jones-related bankruptcy filing has arisen in litigation brought by the Sandy Hook families against the conspiracy theorist. Infowars and two other Jones business entities filed for bankruptcy protection in April. The filing of the bankruptcy petition in the spring delayed the start of the trial in Texas, where Infowars is headquartered.

Reynal did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Saturday. Mark Bankston, an attorney for the Texas families suing Jones, criticized the Infowars personality for having his media company declare bankruptcy during the libel damages lawsuit.

“The world is currently watching the final chapter in Mr. Jones’ pathetic exit from the American scene, and true to form, he will try to make money out of it,” Bankston said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We have no intention of allowing it.”

Christopher Mattei, an attorney representing some of the families in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, echoed Bankston and criticized the timing of the bankruptcy filing.

“Just two days before the start of jury selection in Connecticut, Mr. Jones has once again fled like a coward to bankruptcy court in a transparent attempt to delay the confrontation with the families he has spent years hurting,” Mattei said in a statement. The post office. “These families have endless patience and remain committed to holding Mr. Jones accountable in a Connecticut court.”

The bankruptcy filing represents the latest blow to Jones after he said the deadliest elementary school shooting in US history – in which 26 people were killed in Newtown, Connecticut, including 20 young children – was a “false flag” operation carried out by “crisis actors”. Although Jones has since acknowledged the shooting took place and blamed his false allegations on “a form of psychosis”, he has been banned from major platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Spotify for violating their hate speech policies.

Connecticut and Texas judges found Jones liable for damages in lawsuits stemming from his false allegations. In default judgments against Jones and Infowars last October, District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of Travis County, Texas, ruled that Jones failed to comply with court orders to give information in a pair of lawsuits filed against him in 2018 by the families of two children killed in the 2012 shootings. Jones repeatedly failed to turn over documents and evidence to the court to support his damaging and flawed claims.

Jones has already been ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to the families who sued him. Nine families have sued him over the years.

As Sandy Hook libel trial begins, Alex Jones may be out

During jury selection this week, Reynal told the Austin courtroom that the Infowars founder “has medical issues” that could prevent him from showing up for parts of the trial, even if he “has no obligation to be here”. Although Reynal did not specify what “medical issues” might prevent the 48-year-old from attending the trial in person, Jones previously blamed the stress and cardiovascular effects of his coronavirus infection for the missing depositions during the Connecticut trial last year. Jones also faced daily fines of $25,000 from a Connecticut judge for failing to appear for court-ordered depositions in March.

“I started getting sick after I caught covid last year…just like everyone else. It attacked the cardiovascular system, okay?” Jones said in an audio message posted in March. I’m 48 years old and I’m very stressed.”

Austin jurors determine the amount of compensatory and punitive damages Jones must pay to the families of the victims, who are seeking $150 million. While Jones claimed in court papers he had a net worth of negative $20 million, lawyers for the Sandy Hook families pointed to documents showing Jones’ Infowars store made more than $165 million. between 2015 and 2018.

The first week of the trial was marked by fireworks inside and outside the courtroom. After Jones described the lawsuit against him as “kangaroo court” in a bizarre tirade to reporters, his lawyer, Reynal, found himself in a heated argument with Bankston on Wednesday. As the two argued over the video evidence presented during the trial, Reynal gave Bankston the middle finger and repeatedly called him a “liar”.

Reynal apologized on Thursday.

“It wasn’t appropriate,” he said.

The trial is expected to end next week.

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