By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
Three companies linked to far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, including his fringe media organization InfoWars, are seeking bankruptcy protection, according to court documents filed Sunday.
The move, which could stay civil lawsuits against the companies, comes after Jones was found legally liable for damages in three defamation lawsuits related to false allegations he made about the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012.
Jones made an unsubstantiated claim following the shooting, in which 26 people were killed, that the incident was staged. Facing lawsuits, Jones has since acknowledged that the shooting took place. He said in a 2019 sworn deposition that a “form of psychosis” made him believe at the time that it was staged.
Christopher Mattei, an attorney representing some of the Sandy Hook families in a Connecticut Trialsaid Monday that Jones will ultimately face the music for his actions, despite his attempt to delay the civil case.
“Alex Jones is only delaying the inevitable: a public trial in which he will be held accountable for his for-profit campaign of lies against the Sandy Hook families who filed this lawsuit,” Mattei said in a statement.
Documents filed Sunday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas sought bankruptcy protection for Infowars and Prison Planet, another of Jones’ right-wing outlets. Jones also filed for bankruptcy protection for Infowars Health, the store from which Jones sold nutritional supplements and other products. The type of bankruptcy filing for the business is one that could allow it to stay in business. Many businesses have used bankruptcy to continue operating while getting rid of debt and other debt they cannot afford, including legal judgments in some cases.
The Infowars store was particularly lucrative. In a 2019 deposition, Jones’ father, who ran much of the business, estimated that “something like 80%” of revenue “probably” came from Infowars store sales. Citing court documents, the Huffington Post reported in 2022 that over a three-year period from 2015 to 2018, the Infowars store had sales of $165 million.
In court documents filed on Sunday, boxes were checked indicating that the estimated assets of Infowars and Prison Planet are less than $50,000 and that their estimated liabilities are between $1 million and $10 million. Checked boxes in the document for Infowars Health place that company’s estimated assets between $500,000 and $1 million and estimated liabilities ranging from $1 million to $10 million.
Jones was particularly uncooperative as he was sued. A Texas judge issued default judgments against him for failing to comply with court orders in October. And in November, a Connecticut judge did the same.
At the end of last month, Jones was despised by the Connecticut court for failing to comply with several sitting orders for a deposition against him. Jones paid $75,000 in fines for the matter, but the money was later returned to him when he finally complied with the order.
Mark Bangston, an attorney representing the parents of two Sandy Hook children in a lawsuit in Texas, told CNN in an email: “None of Mr. Jones’ ridiculous stuff has worked in the past, and this one- it won’t come out any better.”
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