Alex Jones files for bankruptcy
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has filed for personal bankruptcy after he was ordered to pay almost $1.5bn for falsely claiming a 2012 school shooting was a hoax.
Jones was ordered to pay the damages to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting following a series of defamation trials earlier this year.
The most notable came in October when a jury ordered him to pay almost $1bn following a trial in Connecticut.
Jones has not commented on the filing.
The court documents – which were filed in Houston, Texas on Friday – say the Infowars host has between $1m and $10m of assets and between $1bn and $10bn of debt.
They also estimate that the 48-year-old has between 50 and 99 creditors, including the individually named relatives of the victims and an FBI agent who responded to the attack.
His show’s parent company – Free Speech Systems – filed for bankruptcy in July.
The latest filing temporarily halts all proceedings in the Connecticut case, including a scheduled hearing examining how the families would receive the money and what assets could be included.
It could further delay payments as the case plays out in bankruptcy courts. It is unclear how much money the families will receive.
Following the filing, a lawyer representing the families said “the bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others”.
“Like every other cowardly move Alex Jones has made, this bankruptcy will not work,” Chris Mattei said in a statement.
Jones, who founded the conspiracy-laden Infowars website and talk show, argued for years that the Sandy Hook shooting was a “staged” government plot to take guns from Americans and that “no-one died”.
He called the parents of the 20 children who died “crisis actors” and argued that some of them never actually existed.
He now acknowledges the attack was “100% real”, a concession he made in August at a separate defamation trial in Texas.
Families who lost loved ones in the shooting alleged Jones’ lies led to years of death threats, intimidation and other forms of harassment from his followers.
Jones still faces a third defamation trial over the Sandy Hook shooting that begins in Texas later this year. (BBC)