HOUSTON — Infowars host Alex Jones filed for personal bankruptcy protection in Texas on Friday as he faces nearly $1.5 billion in court orders for spreading conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook school massacre.
Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in bankruptcy court in Houston. His filing lists $1 billion to $10 billion in debt and $1 million to $10 million in assets owed to 50 to 99 creditors.
The bankruptcy filing came as Jones faced a court order to pay nearly $1.5 billion in damages to the relatives of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting for calling the massacre a hoax.
An attorney representing Jones in the bankruptcy case did not immediately send a message seeking comment.
In October, a Connecticut jury awarded the families $965 million in damages, and a judge later determined a further $473 million in punitive damages. Earlier in the year, a Texas jury awarded $49 million in damages to the parents of a child killed in the shooting.
In Connecticut, Jones also filed a notice on Friday stating that filing for bankruptcy has halted all proceedings in this case. A judge was scheduled to hear in the Connecticut case on Friday morning over the Sandy Hook families’ motion to foreclose the assets of Jones and his company to provide money for compensation awards.
The families’ motion to secure Jones’ assets also asks the Connecticut judge to prohibit Jones from transferring or disposing of assets without the court’s permission.
Jones laughed at the awards on the Infowars show, saying he has less than $2 million to his name and cannot afford to pay such high sums. The comments contradicted the testimony of a forensic economist at the Texas trial who said Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems, had a combined net worth of as high as $270 million. Free Speech Systems is also seeking bankruptcy protection.
In the Texas and Connecticut cases, some relatives of the 20 children and six adults killed in the 2012 school shooting said they had been threatened and harassed for years by people who believed the lies told on Jones’ show. One parent said conspiracy theorists urinated on her 7-year-old son’s grave and threatened to dig up the coffin.
Erica Lafferty, daughter of the slain Sandy Hook manager Dawn Hochsprung, testified that she had been mailing threats of rape to people’s homes.
In documents filed in Free Speech Systems’ bankruptcy lawsuit in Texas, a budget estimate for the company from October 29 to November 25 was that product sales would total $2.5 million, while operating expenses would be approximately $740,000. Jones’ salary was listed as $20,000 fortnightly.
Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut, and Bleed from Little Rock, Arkansas.